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Rally Loses Steam, But Dow Inches Ahead

Rally Loses Steam, But Dow Inches Ahead

The market hovered near all-time highs on Friday but couldn't quite generate the lift it needed to crack through the ceiling despite more encouraging economic and trade news. Still, the Dow produced small gains, finishing up 0.1% to 27,219 for its eighth consecutive improvement, while the S&P 500 (which lost just two points to hit 3,007) and Nasdaq (-0.2% to 8,176) closed with small losses. China announced it would suspend planned hikes on a few U.S. agricultural imports such as pork and soybeans as an October round of negotiations nears. Here at home, August retail sales grew 0.4% month-over-month, which was better than economists' expectations and marked the sixth straight month of retail expansion.

The stakes are high heading into October's planned trade talks. The major indexes are near their all-time highs, seemingly pricing in a high-percentage chance of success. Thus, another disappointing result in a couple of weeks (or a breakdown in relations before that) could repel the market yet again. Now's the time to figure out how best to position yourself for success. If you're pessimistic about America's chances at a trade resolution, consider these five stocks that are mostly insulated from tariffs and other trade-war fallout. Several emerging-market growth plays are a little more protected than others, too. If you're more optimistic, consider stocks that have already felt tariff pain from this 2-year-old trade dispute; some of them could take flight should the U.S. strike a deal in October, while others have already started to pivot their businesses out of harm's way.

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