U.S. Stock ETFs Inch Higher as Mixed Economic Data Mute Gains

U.S. markets and stock ETFs inched higher on Monday as gains were muted by cautious sentiment amid mixed economic signals.

On Monday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) was up 0.2%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) rose 0.1% and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) gained 0.1%.

Germany revealed its manufacturing and services sectors weakened more than expected over September, fueling concerns over the health of Europe’s biggest economy, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Meanwhile, U.S. employment in the services sector shrank for the first time in nine-and-a-half years over September, Reuters reports. The IHS Markit’s Purchasing Manager’s Index stood at 50.9, and the services sector PMI reading fell below expectations of 51.3.

“It looks like we’re in a slowdown, but that slowdown won’t become a recession yet,” Sandip Bhagat, chief investment officer of Whittier Trust, told the WSJ, adding the economy still shows a strong labor market data, a robust service sector, and still benign inflationary pressures.

A Cancelled Montana Trip

Investors were also still focused on trade after the Chinese agriculture delegation canceled a visit to Montana, which led to a precipitous pullback on Friday’s session.

“The latest negative news out of trade talks last week has brought a lot of uncertainty in the market. We are stuck in a trading range and the feeling is one of global disparity,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, told Reuters.

Some, though, pointed out that investors shouldn’t get too heavily invested in trade progress as hurdles have popped up before.

“The farm visit news was certainly a factor but having said that, investors’ expectations for a quick resolution had been pretty low in the first place,” Zhang Gang, senior analyst at Central China Securities, told the WSJ.

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