Dow surges more than 150 points in sudden move after Trump reportedly gets concessions from EU to avoid a trade war

  • The major indexes surged in the last hour of trading after Dow Jones reported that the EU has agreed to import more U.S. soybeans.
  • The Dow jumped to close more than 150 points higher while the Nasdaq posted a record close.

Stocks closed sharply higher on Wednesday after President Donald Trump reportedly obtained concessions from the European Union to avoid a trade war.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 172.16 points to close at 25,414.10 after falling more than 100 points earlier in the session. The Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.2 percent to an all-time high of 7,932.24 as Google-parent Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon all jumped. The S&P 500 gained 0.9 percent to 2,846.07, closing less than 1 percent from its record high, as tech rose 1.5 percent.

Dow Jones reported, citing an EU official, that the EU has agreed to import more U.S. soybeans. Dow Jones also said the EU agreed to lowering tariffs on industrial goods.

Caterpillar jumped to close 1.8 percent higher on heavy volume following the report. Ford shares nearly went positive after falling as much as 4 percent earlier in the day.

The report comes as Trump met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss trade issues.Trade relations between the U.S. and EU had been strained in recent months. In June, the U.S. president threatened tariffs on imported cars from the European Union. Last week, the EU’s Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said that if the U.S. imposed these levies, it would be “very unfortunate,” and added that the bloc had prepared its own list of countermeasures.

Stocks also rose off their lows after a bipartisan group of Senators announced a bill that could potentially delay any auto tariffs implemented by the Trump administration. The bill would require "the International Trade Commission (ITC) to conduct a comprehensive study of the well-being, health, and vitality of the United States automotive industry before tariffs could be applied."

Both Boeing and General Motors reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, but their full-year forecasts disappointed Wall Street. Boeing dropped 0.7 percent while General Motors fell 4.5 percent.

Boeing reaffirmed its 2018 earnings forecast while General Motors slashed its own estimates, citing "recent and significant increases in commodity costs" as well as currency headwinds for the cut.

Traders work the floor at the NYSE in New York. 
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Traders work the floor at the NYSE in New York. 

Dow-component Coca-Cola reported earnings that topped estimates, pushing the stock up by more than 1 percent.

Wall Street has high hopes for this earnings season, with analysts polled by FactSet expecting a 20 percent year-over-year increase in second-quarter profits.

"For the most part, the earnings season has gone as expected," said Ryan Nauman, market strategist at Informa Financial Intelligence. But the biggest takeaway thus far "is the forward-looking narratives companies are giving, citing the stronger dollar and rising material costs."

Moving forward, "I think that's going to be the No. 1 headline from companies."

Nearly 30 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results thus far. Of those companies, 82.6 percent have reported better-than-expected earnings, according to FactSet.

Facebook shares dropped nearly 10 percent after the close following the release of the company's quarterly earnings.

The Commerce Department is scheduled to release the first look at second-quarter economic growth on Friday. Economists polled by Reuters expect the economy to have grown by 4.1 percent.

"For several months, we've had this concern over what tariffs will do to the economy, while at the same time seeing a booming U.S. economy," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird. He also said the market's overall trend has been to the upside, but added he would not be surprised "if we ran into a headwind after this earnings season. The global economy seems to be slowing down."

Friday's GDP report will follow disappointing new home sales data. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new home sales dropped to their lowest since October 2017. Shares of hombuilder companies fell sharply on the data, with the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) sliding 1.9 percent.