The stock market posted solid gains on Wednesday morning, as market participants looked forward to the scheduled signing of a preliminary agreement between the U.S. and China on certain trade issues. Trade has hung over the market for more than a year now, but signs of progress have investors excited about the future. As of 11 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) climbed 160 points to 29,099. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) gained 13 points to 3,297, and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) rose 43 points to 9,294.
Earnings season continued to pick up momentum, and reports from a couple of companies from different sectors of the economy gave investors some insight. Target (NYSE:TGT) wasn’t able to satisfy investors with its initial reading on how the holiday season went. For Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), mixed performance left some shareholders disappointed as they try to assess how difficult it’ll be for the banking giant to overcome the low-interest-rate environment set in place by the Federal Reserve.
The holidays didn’t hit the Target
Shares of Target were down 7% after the department-store retailer reported its holiday sales results. Investors had gone into the holiday season with big hopes for a strong performance, but the numbers weren’t quite good enough to meet those high expectations.
Target said that comparable sales for November and December were up 1.4% from year-ago levels. That was below the company’s expectations and well below the 5.7% growth in comps that Target achieved in the same period during 2018.
Performance across categories showed big disparities. On the strong side, beauty, apparel, and the food and beverage segment all saw significant gains in comps compared to year-ago levels. However, electronics took a big hit, seeing comps fall 6%. The key toys segment was flat year over year,