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Wall Street mixed ahead of US, China deal signing; dollar weakens


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Wall Street mixed ahead of US, China deal signing; dollar weakens

➤ US-China deal signing event scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET.

➤ S&P 500 flat, as China tariffs to stay in place until phase two deal.

➤ BofA, BlackRock beat EPS estimates; Target shares sink over holiday sales miss.

➤ Pound reverses losses generated after slowing inflation.

Wall Street was mixed at the open as markets awaited the terms of a U.S.-China "phase one" trade deal later today while continuing to track corporate earnings announcements.

The S&P 500 was flat while Nasdaq 100 ticked 0.1% higher around 9:32 a.m. ET. Bank of America Corp. and BlackRock Inc. beat EPS estimates, while Goldman Sachs Group Inc. missed the EPS estimate.

BofA's shares declined 2% and Goldman's shares fell 2.4% while Blackrock gained 1.9%. Target Corp.'s shares sank 5% as it announced its holiday sales were weaker than expected.

The U.S. and China are expected to seal a partial trade deal today at a ceremony scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a comprehensive trade deal would mean more tariff rollbacks, having previously said that the existing tariffs on China will remain in place until a phase two deal is signed. Earlier reports suggested that the duties would remain in place until after the presidential election in November.

The FTSE 100 was flat, while Germany's DAX index and France's CAC 40 lost 0.4% each.

The German economy grew 0.6% in 2019, the weakest pace of growth since 2013, compared to a 1.5% expansion rate in 2018, preliminary data from the country's Federal Statistics Office showed.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index and the Shanghai SE Composite fell 0.5% each, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed 0.4% lower.

The Dollar Spot Index, which measures the currency against a basket of major peers, slipped 0.2% to 97.2280.

Sterling was trading flat at $1.3018, having reversed losses generated after U.K. annual inflation unexpectedly slowed to 1.3% in December 2019, seemingly strengthening the case for the Bank of England to ease its monetary policy as early as Jan. 30. Sterling previously fell 0.2% versus the dollar after the inflation miss.

The euro gained 0.3% and the Japanese yen rose 0.2% against the dollar.

Among bonds, Treasurys advanced as the 10-year yield dipped 3 basis points to 1.785%. German Bunds with the same maturity also rose, with yields falling 5 basis points to negative 0.214%.

In commodities, Brent crude oil slipped 0.2% to $64.38 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange, while gold gained 0.7% to $1,554.60 per ounce.

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The day ahead:

10 a.m. ET — Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations

10:30 a.m. ET — U.S. EIA petroleum status report

11 a.m. ET — U.S. Fed's Patrick Harker speaks

12 p.m. ET — U.S. Fed's Robert Kaplan speaks

2 p.m. ET — U.S. beige book