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The benchmark S&P 500 touched a record high before paring gains, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq trimmed early losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said representatives of Washington and Beijing pledged to ensure the historic trade agreement's success in a call reviewing progress during its first six months that he held Monday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
The disclosure buoyed markets worried by increasing tension between the two countries, with President Trump blaming Beijing for failing to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and saying he had no desire to negotiate with the Chinese on trade at present.
The two sides discussed topics including protections for intellectual property and a ramping up of China’s purchases of U.S. agriculture, according to a statement from Lighthizer's office.
Looking at economic data, August consumer confidence printed at 84.8, a six-year low and below the 93 that analysts surveyed by Reinfitiv were expecting. Home prices, meanwhile, climbed 3.5% from a year ago, below the 3.8% growth that was anticipated.
In the tech industry, meanwhile, Apple’s upcoming stock split has caused a shake-up in the Dow as the iPhone-maker's reduced share price would leave the sector under-represented.
Salesforce.com, Amgen Inc. and Honeywell International Inc. will enter the blue-chip average on Aug. 31, replacing Exxon Mobil Corp., Pfizer Inc. and Raytheon Technologies Corp.
The changes will “help diversify the index by removing overlap between companies of similar scope and adding new types of businesses that better reflect the American economy,” S&P Dow Jones Indices said in a statement.
Elsewhere, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that battery energy density could increase by 50% over the next three to four years, which could help improve driving range per charge in the company's electric cars. Tesla is scheduled to hold its next Battery Day on Sept. 22.
Delta Air Lines Inc. plans to furlough 1,941 pilots in October, according to Reuters, which cited an internal memo. The airline said last month the furloughs could be avoided if pilots agreed to a 15% pay reduction, something the union has been wary to do.
Looking at earnings, Best Buy Co. reported earnings and revenue that were ahead of estimates as digital sales surged 242% from a year ago, fueled by customers loading up on products that made it easier to work from home and entertain their families amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the retailer warned the current rate of 20% sales growth would not last.
J.M. Smucker beat on both the top and bottom lines and raised its full-year forecast amid strong demand for its coffees and consumer foods.
Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 16 cents to $42.78 per barrel while gold slipped $12.40 to $1,926.80 an ounce.
U.S. Treasurys were under moderate selling pressure, causing the yield on the 10-year note to climb by 4.1 basis points to 0.687%.
In Europe, France’s CAC was out front, up 0.42%, and Germany’s DAX was higher by 0.24%. Britain’s FTSE fell 0.7%.
Asian markets finished mixed as Japan’s Nikkei climbed 1.35% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.26% and 0.36%, respectively.