By Karen Langley and Caitlin Ostroff 

U.S. stocks swung between small gains and losses Tuesday, after President Trump said the U.S. and China are close to an "phase one" trade deal but emphasized that he will only accept an agreement that would be good for the U.S.

Mr. Trump's remarks at the Economic Club of New York were scrutinized for any sign of progress in trade negotiations with China. China is "dying to make a deal. We're the ones who are deciding whether we want to make a deal," Mr Trump said.

The stock market showed little reaction during the speech but pared some of its earlier gains as the afternoon progressed.

The S&P 500 was essentially flat for much of the afternoon, rising 0.2% by 4 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5 points, or less than 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite was up 0.3%.

Investors have been particularly sensitive to trade-related headlines in recent months and have pushed stocks higher lately as tensions have diffused. They have also credit the Federal Reserve's interest rate cuts for supporting stocks.

"We don't think we're out of the woods yet," said Matt Miskin, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management. "It does not sound like a trade deal is finalized by any means. But the Band-Aid on this all is the Fed cutting interest rates."

Major U.S. stock indexes are at or near all-time highs, as investors have grown more confident about the economy. The Dow industrials notched another record close Monday, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite set multiple highs last week.

Investors have found reason for optimism in another Federal Reserve rate cut, a corporate earnings season that has been better than expected, and data on jobs and consumer spending that suggest strength in the U.S. economy.

They will be watching closely Wednesday when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell heads to Capitol Hill for two days of congressional hearings. Mr. Powell has signaled that there will be a high bar for additional rate cuts after the Fed's three rate reductions this year.

Within U.S. stocks, cyclical areas that are closely tied to the economy, such as the financial and industrial sectors, have been doing particularly well.

"That tells me investors are not worried about recession in 2020," said Nancy Tengler, chief investment officer of Tengler Wealth Management.

Corporate news drove moves in individual stocks. Shares of Advance Auto Parts dropped 7.7% after the company reported lower-than-expected third-quarter same-store sales. Rockwell Automation climbed 11% after the Milwaukee-based industrial technology company beat forecasts for its adjusted profit.

With more than 90% of S&P 500 companies having reported third-quarter earnings, about three-quarters have beaten expectations, slightly above the five-year average of 72%, according to FactSet. Earnings from companies that have reported dropped 2.3% from a year earlier.

Shares of Portland-based brewing company Craft Brew Alliance more than doubled after Anheuser-Busch offered to buy the remaining shares of the company Monday.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury was 1.909%, down from 1.930% Friday. Bond markets were closed Monday. Yields fall when prices rise.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.4% and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.5%. Stocks traded up in Asia, where the Hang Seng rose 0.5% amid ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.2% and Japan's Nikkei 225 climbed 0.8%.

Write to Karen Langley at and Caitlin Ostroff at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 12, 2019 16:17 ET (21:17 GMT)

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