U.S. stock benchmarks closed slightly higher Wednesday after congressional leaders and President Donald Trump agreed to extend the debt limit deadline and fund the government through mid-December.
The gains on Wall Street came as investors grappled with lingering concerns over North Korea, a “potentially catastrophic” Hurricane Irma, doubts about President Donald Trump’s business-friendly agenda, news that a key Federal Reserve official is resigning, and persistent worries about elevated stock valuations.
Read: Why investors are so chill about North Korea, hurricanes and everything else
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
rose 54.33 points, or 0.3%, to end at 21,807.64, led by gains for Home Depot Inc.
and Exxon Mobil Corp.
which were all up more than 2%.
The S&P 500 index
climbed 7.69 points, or 0.3%, to end at 2,465.54, powered by a rebound in energy sector, up 1.6%. Of the 11 main sectors, nine closed in positive territory.
Meanwhile, the technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index
tacked on 17.74 points, or 0.3%, to end at 6,393.31.
The market’s reaction to news that Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer was set to resign next month was muted.
Fischer plans to resign from his post in mid-October. His term was set to end in June. In a letter to President Donald Trump, Fischer, 73, said he was leaving for personal reasons.
Read: Fed’s departing Fischer remembered as ‘stalwart’ amid central bank turmoil
Also see: Trump’s ability to control Fed sped up by Fischer resignation
Fischer’s expected departure raises the question of whether Chairwoman Janet Yellen continues on as the Fed’s chief and how the central bank will proceed with monetary policy as sluggish inflation has befuddled policy makers so far.
Wednesday’s modest gains come after the market experienced its most severe selling since Aug. 17, with investors focused on heightened geopolitical tensions after North Korea said it had successfully tested its biggest-ever nuclear bomb.
Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Schwab Center for Financial Research, pointed to a rebound in U.S. traded crude-oil prices
near $50 a barrel as a bullish sign for the overall market in the wake of Hurricane Harvey which pummeled the Gulf Coast region at the end of August with floodwaters and destructive winds.
“Today’s bounce is encouraging but it is not as robust as you might expect given how far we were down yesterday,” Frederick said.
Read: One way Irma could affect the U. S.—even if it misses Florida
Economic news: In other economic news, the trade deficit rose slightly in July, keeping the U.S. on track to post a larger gap in 2017 than in 2016. The deficit edged up to $43.7 billion in July from $43.5 billion in June.
A reading on services activity, meanwhile, came in better than expected, providing an added lift to the outlook for the health of the U.S. economy. ISM services were at 55.3 in August, compared with 53.9 in the prior period. A reading of at least 50 indicates expansion.
The Federal Reserve’s so-called Beige Book, a collection of anecdotes about the economy gathered before the central bank makes interest-rate decisions, said reports were mixed about auto production, as sales have slowed.
Stock movers: Shares of Gap Inc.,
shot up 7.5% after the company said it expects its Old Navy brand to reach $10 billion in sales over the next few years.
Shares of other retailers, such as Macy’s Inc.
and Kohl’s Corp
were also sharply higher as industry executives were speaking at the Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Conference. Macy’s advanced 5.5%, while Kohls shares rose 4.9%.
U.S.-listed shares of Trivago NV
plunged 16% after the German hotel search platform cut its guidance, saying earnings for the third quarter and full year would be lower than previously expected.
Shares of Dave & Buster’s Entertainment
slumped 12% after its second-quarter results disappointed Wall Street expectations and trimmed its fiscal full-year outlook late-Tuesday.
Voyager Therapeutics Inc.
soared 25% after the drugmaker announced positive trial results for a treatment for advanced Parkinson’s disease.
Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.
fell 1.9% even as the company late Tuesday reported earnings that beat forecasts after the spinoff of some software assets.
Other markets: Asian stocks closed mainly lower, while European stocks continued lower for a third straight day.
Oil prices rose, while gold prices
retreated. The dollar was slightly lower against other major currencies, with the ICE Dollar Index