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Aug 27, 2018

U.S. stocks hit record highs; peso rises on trade deal

BNN Bloomberg's closing bell update: Aug. 27, 2018

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U.S. stocks rose to fresh all-time highs and Mexico’s peso rallied versus the dollar as the Trump administration closed a bilateral trade deal with America’s southern neighbor. Treasuries fell.

The S&P 500 Index closed just short of 2,900 and the Nasdaq Composite Index topped 8,000 for the first time as President Donald Trump unveiled details of the agreement that he says will replace Nafta. Shares of carmakers and parts producers in the equity benchmark surged more than 3.5 per cent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 26,000 for the first since February. The peso rallied, and Canada’s dollar strengthened.

In Toronto, the S&P/TSX Composite closed up 88.34 points – or 0.54 per cent – at 16,444.39.

European shares advanced, though a British holiday depressed volume. The strongest moves were in Asia after recent efforts by the Chinese central bank to shore up the yuan. That currency was largely stable in the offshore market as the dollar turned lower. The euro reversed a drop after a jump in German business confidence.

“The stock market is confident that the trade war is closer to the end than the beginning,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York, said in an email. “One by one the trade war dominoes are starting to fall backwards and are off the table for risks that threaten the global economy.”

The breakthrough on trade with Mexico captured investor attention amid yet another failure for U.S. and China trade talks. American stocks added to records amid strong earnings and domestic expansion, while Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s indication the U.S. will continue to follow a path of gradual tightening was interpreted as having a dovish tone.

The trade news enabled investors to look past a host of other macro events, including President Donald Trump’s ongoing legal woes, fresh Russian sanctions, a war of words over Syria and faltering efforts to denuclearize North Korea. While Asian shares rallied on the back of the yuan’s stabilization, the PBOC’s moves to steady the currency threaten to be an unwelcome step backward in the longer term.

Elsewhere, European bonds followed Treasuries lower. Turkey’s lira dropped as the country’s markets reopened following a holiday. Emerging-market stocks rallied. Oil was little changed.

Here are some key events coming up this week:

Earnings are due from companies including Canada’s largest banks and China Construction Bank Corp., ICBC, Pernod Ricard and Dollar General. China’s official factory PMI are due Friday. The U.S. economy probably grew in the second quarter at a slightly slower pace, economists predict ahead of Wednesday’s report. The Bank of Korea sets policy on Friday. Weak jobs growth has cooled speculation of an interest-rate increase.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 increased 0.8 per cent to 2,896.66 as of 4 p.m. in New York to the highest on record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1 per cent to surpass 26,000. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.5 per cent to the highest in almost two weeks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 1.2 per cent to the highest in two weeks on the biggest climb in more than 11 weeks. The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 1.8 per cent to the highest in two weeks on the largest rise in more than six weeks.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.4 per cent to 1,178.53. The peso rose more than 1 per cent to 18.66 per dollar. The euro increased 0.1 per cent to US$1.1677. The Japanese yen rose 0.1 per cent to 111.086 per dollar.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose four basis points to 2.85 per cent. Germany’s 10-year yield rose three basis points to 0.376 per cent, the highest in two weeks. The spread of Italy’s 10-year bonds over Germany’s dipped one basis point to 2.7988 per centage points.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude gained less than 0.2 per cent to US$68.87 a barrel, the highest in more than three weeks. Gold futures added 0.2 per cent to US$1,216.10 an ounce.

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