US Stock Markets Ended March 1, 2019
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Stocks were marginally higher during a up and down week as investors weighed better-than-expected economic growth with geopolitical and trade concerns. GDP grew at 2.6% in the 4th quarter, beating consensus expectations of 2.2%, as business investment remained strong. In trade news, President Trump announced a delay to an increase in tariff rates and his top trade negotiator, Robert Flightier, later in the week told reporters the U.S. is in the process of abandoning plans to increase rates on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from 10% due to progress on a deal. In stock news, shares of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise surged following a beat-and-raise quarter due to cost-curtailment and a good product mix. By contrast, shares of HP Inc. plunged on weak sales as consumers have shifted their buying patterns to cheaper online options, hurting their high-margin ink cartridge sales. High-growth cloud-based technology firms Box Inc. and Nutanix Inc. both issued disappointing guidance that sent their shares sliding. General Electric Co. agreed to sell its life sciences unit to Danaher Corp. for over $21 billion. The move sent both industrials higher as the cash deal should help General Electric's balance sheet. Looking ahead, corporate profits are likely to be challenged next quarter as falling energy prices, weak earnings guidance for some mega-cap firms and less benefits from tax cuts could lead to declining earnings growth for the S&P 500. However, median earnings growth rates are still positive and could create some pockets of opportunities in the market, despite the recent increase in valuations.
Posted on Monday, March 4, 2019 @ 8:09 AM

These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.