Wall Street rises as Chinese president eases trade worries (VIDEO)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York April 11, 2018. — Reuters pic
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York April 11, 2018. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, April 11 — US stocks climbed yesterday as investor concerns about rising trade tensions between the United States and China eased after Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to cut import tariffs.

The technology sector, which would be particularly exposed to a negative impact from tense trade relations with China, provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

Xi said China will widen market access for foreign investors, a point of contention for US President Donald Trump’s administration.

His comments buoyed global markets, which have been under pressure as China and the United States threatened each other with billions of dollars in tariffs.

“With (Xi’s comments), we got the signal for ‘risk on’ in trading today,” said Mariann Montagne, portfolio manager at Gradient Investments in Arden Hills, Minnesota. “That’s why we’ve seen tech and biotech performing very strongly today.”

Facebook shares added the most gains to the S&P 500, rising 4.5 per cent after Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg began his testimony before Congress and took questions from lawmakers. It was the biggest one-day percentage gain for the stock in nearly two years.

Zuckerberg’s testimony aimed to strike a conciliatory tone in an attempt to blunt possible regulatory fallout from the privacy scandal engulfing his social network.

The energy index had the highest percentage gain among the S&P’s 11 major sectors, adding 3.3 per cent as oil broke above US$70 (RM271.01) a barrel.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 428.9 points, or 1.79 per cent, to 24,408, the S&P 500 gained 43.71 points, or 1.67 per cent, to 2,656.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added 143.96 points, or 2.07 per cent, to 7,094.30.

Only utilities and real estate, which are sensitive to interest rates, posted losses after US producer prices rose more than expected in March, indicating that inflation is strengthening, which could push interest rates up further.

However, the increase in producer prices did not prompt broader concerns about future market performance.

“It’s not enough to offset better expectations about the overall economy,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

US stocks will face a major test in coming weeks as first-quarter earnings pour in. JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will kick off the earnings season on Friday.

Analysts expect quarterly profits for S&P 500 companies to rise 18.5 per cent from a year ago, which would be the biggest gain in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sprint Corp shares jumped 17.1 per cent after reports that the company had restarted merger talks with T-Mobile US Inc. T-Mobile shares rose 5.7 per cent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.16-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.93-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted six new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 53 new highs and 32 new lows.

Volume so far on US exchanges was 7.14 billion shares, compared with the 7.33 billion-share average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. — Reuters

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