Stock Market Today: Trade War Deal Coming? 

The best way to describe Monday’s trading session? Mixed. Equities started off lower in the stock market today, then rallied into the afternoon before fading into the close.

stock market today

It was a day where we saw a strong move in a handful of tech and semiconductor stocks, new highs in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) on an adjusted basis and plenty of trade-related headlines.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY) fell 0.4%, the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) slipped just under 0.4% and the PowerShares QQQ ETF (NASDAQ:QQQ) sank 30 basis points.

Trade War Flip-Flop

The trade war has been a menacing game of market-moving headlines. One day, talks are progressing nicely and a trade deal finally looks imminent. Then a tweet from the president or a headline on CNBC rocks equities as the two parties couldn’t seem further apart.

Well, Monday was another one of those days. After opening lower, equities rallied on news that China was reportedly ready to come to the table and get some agreements down on paper — at least on the stuff that China and the U.S. can agree on. After the new year, China plans to hammer out the rest of the agreements.

Fair enough, right?

That would be fine and dandy, if reports later in the day hadn’t come out saying China will not compromise on intellectual property rights. IP rights have been at the core of the trade war and this news will surely not sit well with President Donald Trump.

Specifically, the Chinese said they “will never agree to ‘changes to their laws to protect intellectual property.’” Something has to give here, either from the U.S. or from China. Given the two leaders though, that doesn’t seem likely.

Movers in the Stock Market Today

Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) Libra cryptocurrency payments network may still forge ahead, but it won’t happen with PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) as a partner. The company has officially withdrawn from the group working with Facebook on the project, as the latter continues to face government and regulatory headwinds on various fronts.

Remember Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) plan to open stores in certain Target (NYSE:TGT) locations? Well, those 25 stores are ready to go, an important development ahead of few key movie releases — like Frozen 2 and Star Wars — and going into the holidays. However, the two are planning even more locations in the future, with expectations for 40 more stores by October 2020.

Not a joke. Warner Bros’ latest film, Joker, is estimated to have pulled in $96 million in U.S. and Canadian box office sales over its first weekend. That would make the film the most successful October debut in these markets. Even better though, estimates put international box office sales north of $150 million, bringing its total sales to almost $250 million already.

Shares of AT&T (NYSE:T), which now owns Warner Bros, rallied 35 basis points on the day.

Heard on the Street

Uber (NYSE:UBER) stock caught a lift (no pun intended) on Monday, rallying 2.5% after Citigroup analysts bumped their rating to “buy” from “neutral.” They are also using a $45 price target — Uber’s IPO price. If it gets there, it will represent a rally of more than 50% from Friday’s close.

Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) didn’t close at its highs, but shares moved higher after RBC Capital Markets increased their price target from $190 to $217. The target represents more than 15% upside and if NVDA gets there, will represent new 2019 highs.

After its recent IPO, SmileDirectClub (NASDAQ:SDC) obviously has fans in the analyst community. Stifel and Jefferies both rated the stock as a “buy,” assigning price targets of $19 and $22, respectively. Meanwhile, JPMorgan and Credit Suisse both assigned an “overweight” rating, with price targets of $31 and $18, respectively. Same ratings, two very different price targets.

In any regard, SDC stock slid 8.4% and closed at $13.49.

Bret Kenwell is the manager and author of Future Blue Chips and is on Twitter @BretKenwell. As of this writing, Bret Kenwell is long AAPL. 

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