Equities Post Gains in US on Industrials’ Strength as North Korea Tensions Ease

The benchmark US averages reclaimed early losses and ended higher on Tuesday, with gains led by industrials and information technology stocks as investors tried to overlook the geopolitical jitters that started the day’s trading session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500 and Nasdaq Composite all got technical support as well, recovering after falling below their 100-day moving averages during the session. The indices haven’t closed below the price trend indicators since November last year.

Even still, the markets initially took their cues from counterparts overseas, selling off early after North Korea fired a missile into the sea over northern Japan. Haven investments including gold and US Treasuries climbed.

President Donald Trump’s comments that “all options are on the table” with regard to the reclusive Asian nation bolstered defense stocks, and Boeing (BA) was one of the top performers on the Dow, ending up 1.4%. Raytheon (RTN) added 2.2% and General Dynamics (GD) rose 1.6%

But Trump was focused more on Texas and the impacts of Tropical Storm Harvey, as he visited the state and rain continued to fall. Gasoline prices climbed again as refinery outages from flooding continued to hinder the industry. Marathon Petroleum (MPC) fell 2.1% and LyondellBasell Industries (LYB) lost 0.8%.

RBC Capital Markets said the operations of healthcare provider HCA Healthcare (HCA) and Tenet Healthcare Corp (THC) are likely to see some disruption from Harvey, and HCA fell 2%, while Tenet added 0.8%.

Also in company news, United Technologies (UTX) posted the Dow’s biggest increase, rising 2.9% after the Wall Street Journal reported that it’s nearing a deal to buy Rockwell Collins (COL) for more than $20 billion. Rockwell gained 2.2%.

In economic data, the August Consumer Confidence Index rose to 122.9 from a revised 120, beating estimates for 120.6. The June Case Shiller Home Price Index was up 0.1%, missing estimates for 0.3%. Wednesday’s calendar offers the weekly Mortgage Bankers’ Association applications index, August ADP private payrolls, and preliminary second quarter gross domestic product.

By the close, the Dow and the Nasdaq were both up about 0.3%, while the S&P 500 added 0.1%.

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