Stocks finish mostly higher after upbeat economic data

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

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Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York
source
Thomson Reuters

Stocks were mostly higher Wednesday as markets turned attention away from trade-war fears and toward upbeat economic data. The dollar slipped, and Treasury yields jumped.

Here’s the scoreboard:

Dow Jones industrial average: 26,406.57 +159.61 (+0.61%)

S&P 500: 2,909.75 +5.44 (+0.19%)

Nasdaq Composite: 7,950.87 −5.24 (-0.07%)

  1. As threats to exclude Canada loom, NAFTA progress remains elusive. Meeting for the first time in weeks, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland were expected to discuss sticking points like dairy-market access and how trade disputes should be settled. President Donald Trump recently said the US could move forward with Mexico only if Canada doesn’t make concessions.
  2. An uptick in US apartment construction last month more than offset weakness in single-family home building. The Commerce Department said housing starts rose 9.2% in August, fueled by growth in multifamily homes. Building permits, which signal future construction, dropped sharply to a 15-month low.
  3. The US current-account deficit narrowed more than expected in the second quarter. The trade gap fell to $101.46 billion between April and June, the Commerce Department said, down 17% from $121.71 billion for the first three months of 2018. The decline came amid a surge in exports, which may have been helped by foreign customers rushing orders as global trade tensions escalate.
  4. Canadian pot producer Tilray whipped around. CEO Brendan Kennedy had talked up growth prospects in an interview with CNBC, a day after the company said it had received approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration to export medical marijuana to the US. Shares gained as much as 93%, hitting a high of $300 apiece before settling at $214.06.

And a look at the upcoming economic calendar:

  • Canada releases data on consumer prices and retail sales.
  • The Swiss National Bank announces the London interbank overnight rate.
  • Retail sales numbers are out in the UK.