U.S equity markets were little changed Tuesday as investors remained hopeful the U.S. and China could make progress toward ending the costly trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
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All three of the major averages opened higher before rolling over ahead of the noon hour. Stocks gained more than 1 percent on Monday after President Trump said that his negotiators had received encouraging calls from China the previous day. China’s foreign ministry denied knowledge of any such calls.
“It remains all about trade as President Donald Trump’s comments on the matter had once again been the primary driver for markets at the start of the week,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore. “Even though the sentiment had taken a positive turn on the latest update, uncertainty nevertheless persists to warrant a more cautious stance.”
Boeing recouped early losses, which came after the Russian aircraft-leasing company Avia Capital Services filed a lawsuit in an attempt to cancel its order of 35 737-Max aircraft. In its suit, Avia said the two crashes involving the aircraft were due to Boeing’s “negligent actions and decisions.”
The cigarette makers Altria and Philip Morris were in focus Tuesday morning after the latter confirmed the two companies were in merger talks. Altria spun-off Philip Morris in March 2008.
Elsewhere, drugmakers an Oklahoma judge on Monday evening ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $572 million in damages — far less than the $17 billion the state was seeking — for its role in the state’s opioid crisis. The judgment has the opioid makers Teva Pharmaceuticals and Endo International on traders’ radars as they too are facing lawsuits from the state.
Money continued to flow into U.S. Treasurys, pushing the 10-year yield down 2.5 basis points to 1.51 percent.
On the commodities front, both precious metals and energy were higher.
Asian markets gained ground, with China’s Shanghai Composite and Japan’s Nikkei 225 adding 1.4 percent and 1 percent, respectively. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was a laggard, falling 0.3 percent.
In Europe, all of the major averages were higher in afternoon trade, with Germany’s DAX, up 0.77 percent, leading the advance.
Ken Martin contributed to this report.