U.S. markets and stock ETFs advanced Thursday as China moved to contain the coronavirus outbreak and cut tariffs on U.S. imports in accordance with the phase 1 trade deal.
On Thursday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) was up 0.7%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) rose 0.2% and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) gained 0.2%.
China’s Finance Ministry said the decision to lower tariffs will help “alleviate economic and trade frictions,” adding that it was hoping to work on eliminating tariffs altogether, the Wall Street Journal reports. Given lingering worries about Beijing’s ability to deliver on promises, the tariff cuts were a clear sign that the two sides could move toward a broad trade agreement.
“Clearly the Chinese are trying to get back to business as normal,” Patrick Spencer, managing director of U.S. investment firm Baird, told the WSJ.
Markets have strengthened this week after a number of positive U.S. economic data points helped offset the recent coronavirus risks, pushing the S&P 500 towards its best week in eight months, Reuters reports.
“The fear investors had when the virus first started seems to have abated somewhat,” Rick Meckler, partner, Cherry Lane Investments, told Reuters.
The U.S. markets have also been supported by a strong earnings season with Corporate America largely beating analysts’ expectations. More than 70% of the 305 S&P 500 companies that have reported so far have beat quarterly earnings estimates, according to IBES data form Refinitiv.
Analysts expect that by the time the earnings season is over, companies will have reported modest earnings growth after multiple quarters of falling earnings.
“Since 2008, everybody looks around every corner expecting a recession, but the recent earnings numbers really justify the recent strength in the market,” Spencer added. “We needed to see it and we’re getting it.”
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