Target and H&R Block — What you need to know in markets on Tuesday

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

It’s a new week, and market fears over tariffs have evidently been put at bay.

Stocks started the week with a rally on Wall Street, as each of the major indexes gained more than 1%, paced by the Dow’s 336 point, or 1.4%, rally. The benchmark S&P 500 also gained 1.1%, or 30 points, while the Nasdaq added 1%, or 73 points.

On Tuesday, investors will continue to closely watch the situation with tariffs as the economic data calendar will be fairly open and earnings focused on the retail sector.

Tuesday’s biggest economic data point will be factory orders for January, which are unlikely to be a market mover. On the earnings side, Target (TGT), H&R Block (HRB), Ross Stores (ROST) and Autodesk (ADSK) will be the headliners.

Target’s report will be closely-tracked for signs of how the retailer fared during the all-important holiday season. And H&R Block’s report could bring investors additional color on how the new tax bill, passed late last year by the Trump administration, could be impacting its business.

Shopping carts are seen at a Target store in Azusa, California, on November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The market likes Paul Ryan

Monday marked the third trading day since President Donald Trump’s announcement last Thursday that he would impose a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum.

On Monday, however, it appeared that markets were taking their lead from Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (D-Wis.), whose office voiced concerns over the merits of tariffs which could possibly lead to a trade war.

“We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement on Monday. “The new tax reform law has boosted the economy, and we certainly don’t want to jeopardize those gains.”

The market on Monday appeared to take Paul Ryan’s (R) comments on tariffs as a better sign for the future of the U.S. economy than those of President Donald Trump, who said he would not back down from his pledge to place tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

A GOP source told Yahoo’s Olivier Knox that lawmakers are focused on getting Trump to back off the tariff pledge but haven’t ruled out “potential action” in the future, though what that might be remains unclear. Trump, for his part, said Monday that he would not back down from his plan laid out last week.

The market, however, appeared to decide Monday that the Republican caucus’s determination to not see Trump’s fixation on trade get in the way of their signature economic legislation outweighs the president’s pledge. And as Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman noted Monday, the justification for tariffs cited by the administration is national security, which trade experts see as a very flimsy rationale for this action.

Additionally, the market may see tariff discussions going the way of Trump’s early 2017 pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, which ended as a sort of political failure for Trump but did not derail what had investors excited all year anyway. And that was tax reform.

And if there’s one thing we know Donald Trump is perhaps most proud of during his time in office, it is the rise in the stock market to new record highs. The last few days of market action suggest the market might be at serious risk if tariffs are enacted, and investors know the market is one thing that will definitely get Trump’s attention.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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