Stocks reach highs amid trade deal

Jeremy Herron and Sarah Ponczek
Bloomberg L.P.

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 the North American Free Trade Agreement. Shares of carmakers and parts producers in the equity benchmark surged more than 3.5 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose above 26,000 for the first since February. The peso rallied, and Canada’s dollar strengthened.

The trade deal is far from final and few details were made public during trading hours Monday, but investors were encouraged that the countries are working toward a resolution.

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.

“Most of this year has been a series of potentially negative events on trade, setting up barriers to trade,” said Craig Birk, chief investment officer for Personal Capital. “The market is welcoming anything that’s the opposite.”

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.

The U.S. economy probably grew in the second quarter at a slightly slower pace, economists predict ahead of Wednesday’s report.

Associated Press contributed.