U.S. stocks edged higher in midday trading on Wall Street Thursday following two days of losses.
The market had started higher but gave up some of its gains by lunchtime. Stocks are still on track for their fourth weekly loss and their first monthly decline of the year.
Stocks have been sliding in volatile trading all month as investors come to grips with an escalating trade war’s potential impact on corporate and economic growth.
Technology companies led the gains. Qualcomm rose 1.2% and HP rose 1%. Keysight Technologies surged 10.7% after beating analysts’ first quarter profit forecasts.
Industrial companies and banks were also broadly higher. Deere and Northrop Grumman rose 1%.
Clothing and apparel makers were weighed down by weak financial results. PVH, which owns Calvin Klein, plunged more than 14.3% after cutting its forecast for the year. Watchmaker Movado fell 5% after reporting weak earnings.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.1% as of 12:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was also flat at 25,140. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.2%
ANALYST’S TAKE: After a rough May, trade concerns will likely continue hanging over the market through most of June. That’s when U.S. and Chinese leaders will have an opportunity to meet at the next G20 summit in Japan.
“We don’t expect there to be some grand bargain, but that will definitely set the tone,” said Jim Smigiel, chief investment officer of non-traditional strategies at SEI.
Until then, investors will have to deal with more uncertainty over the trade war’s impact on global growth, corporate profit results and monetary policy.
WRINKLED FORECAST: PVH, the owner of the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, plunged 13.6% after cutting its full year profit forecast because of weak sales. PVH cited weak sales in the U.S. and China and put some of the blame on the ongoing trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.
PVH said the forecast includes the impact of tariffs. It is the latest retailer suffering from the fallout of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. Retailers have seesawed this week as they express concern over tariffs squeezing their businesses.
Abercrombie & Fitch, Canada Goose and Versace-owner Capri Holdings all gave weak forecasts this week.
DOLLAR DEALS: Dollar General rose 7.3% and Dollar Tree rose 3.7% after the discount retailers gave investors solid quarterly earnings results.
Dollar General beat forecasts for a key sales measure at established stores. It pegged part of that growth to customers buying more groceries and seasonal items.
Dollar Tree matched profit forecasts while beating revenue forecasts for the quarter.
EARNINGS SCORECARD: Nearly all of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported their latest round of quarterly financial results. Analysts had issued dire warnings for a severe earnings contraction early this year, but the results have been surprisingly good.
Overall, profit contracted less than a half-percentage point. That’s far better than the 4% drop Wall Street expected.
A smattering of companies have yet to report results. Ride-hailing company Uber, which went public earlier in May, will report its quarterly financial results after the market closes.
HOMEBUILDERS SLUMP: A surprise decline in pending home sales in April pushed homebuilders lower.
The National Association of Realtors reported a 1.5% decline in contracts for home purchases which are usually completed a month or two later. Economists expected an increase of 0.9%.
KB Home fell 2.8%, Toll Brothers fell 1.4% and Lennar fell 1.2%.