Wall St gains on trade optimism, progress to avert govt shutdown

There is currently a lot of optimism around the trade talks and hopes for a deal— Reuters pic
There is currently a lot of optimism around the trade talks and hopes for a deal— Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Feb 12 — Wall Street rose today, fueled by a tentative deal reached by US lawmakers to avoid another partial government shutdown and optimism that the United States and China could reach an agreement during their ongoing trade talks.

However, it was unclear if President Donald Trump would embrace the deal as congressional aides said it did not contain the US$5.7 billion (RM23.2 billion) he wants for a border wall.

"What investors are taking from this is that the government stays open, whether or not Trump signs on the deal is secondary," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

"There is a lot of optimism around the trade talks and hopes for some kind of a deal in the making."

The talks resumed yesterday and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, ahead of high-level talks scheduled later this week.

The world's two biggest economies are seeking to strike a deal before a March 1 deadline, when additional US tariffs on Chinese imports will come into force.

Trade-sensitive industrials rose 0.96 per cent, boosted by Boeing Inc, Caterpillar Inc and 3M Co .

Chipmakers, which depend on China for a huge chunk of their revenue, also gained and pushed the Philadelphia chip index 1.64 per cent higher. The broader technology sector rose 0.81 per cent.

Trade war topped the list of biggest tail risks for the ninth straight month, followed by a slowdown in China, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch's February survey of fund managers.

The S&P 500 index is just 7 per cent away from its Sept. 20 record closing high, driven by optimism on trade, a largely upbeat fourth-quarter earnings season and a dovish Federal Reserve.

About 71 per cent of the S&P companies that have posted earnings have topped expectations, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. But analysts' estimates for first-quarter earnings have turned negative for the first time since 2016.

At 9:41 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 232.44 points, or 0.93 per cent, at 25,285.55. The S&P 500 was up 22.40 points, or 0.83 per cent, at 2,732.20 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 65.29 points, or 0.89 per cent, at 7,373.20.

Energy rose 1.63 percent, the most among the S&P sectors, after oil prices jumped 2 percent supported by Opec-led production cuts.

Coty Inc surged 14 percent, the most on the S&P, after German conglomerate JAB Holding Co said it planned to hike its stake in the cosmetics maker.

Electronic Arts Inc jumped 4.7 per cent after the videogame maker's newly launched battle royale game gained traction. Rival Take-Two lost 5.6 percent following a downgrade by a 5-star analyst.

Gilead Sciences Inc fell 4.2 per cent after its liver disease drug failed a late-stage study.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 4.14-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 4.31-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 21 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 39 new highs and three new lows. — Reuters

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