Wall St. Rallies as U.S.-Mexico Reach Trade Deal

(Reuters) —
Trader Peter Tuchman on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

U.S. stocks posted strong gains on Monday, with the benchmark S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hitting all-time highs, as the United States and Mexico reached a deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Shares of automakers, which stand to gain from the deal, rose with Ford up 2.7 percent, General Motors gained 4.2 percent and Fiat Chrysler climbed 4.1 percent.

The trade-sensitive industrials sector was up about 1.11 percent. Caterpillar rose 2.7 percent and was the second-biggest percentage gainer on the Dow Jones industrial average.

The U.S. and Mexico reached a deal to replace NAFTA and talks with Canada were expected to begin immediately in the hopes of reaching a final agreement by Friday, a senior U.S. trade official said.

“The market is banking on further trade deals with the Mexico talks at least going somewhere,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“Trump just made an unofficial announcement … but I think the market was expecting it and it’s not new news. It just amplified over the weekend.”

Also helping sentiment was Washington pressing the European Union to speed up trade negotiations.

At 11:35 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 221.91 points, or 0.86 percent, at 26,012.26, the S&P 500 was up 20.12 points, or 0.70 percent, at 2,894.81 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 75.14 points, or 0.95 percent, at 8,021.11.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. The top percentage gainer was the materials sector with a 1.55 percent increase.

The defensive utilities and real estate sectors were down 0.82 percent and 0.5 percent.

Chipotle Mexican Grill slipped 4.1 percent, the most on the S&P, after Wedbush downgraded its shares, citing higher risks to the burrito chain’s near-term same-store sales and margin estimates.

Tesla Inc dropped 2.6 percent after abandoning a plan to take the electric carmaker private.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.11-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.34-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 50 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 144 new highs and 18 new lows.

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