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Stocks rise; tech shares lift Nasdaq composite to an all-time high

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
(Bryan R. Smith / AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. stocks rose for the second consecutive day Monday, with technology companies, retailers and household goods companies in the lead. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite and the Russell 2000 index of smaller, more U.S.-focused companies both hit all-time highs.

Major tech firms, including Google’s parent company, Alphabet, made solid gains. Apple rose as it previewed new features and software updates at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Microsoft edged up after it said it will buy the coder platform GitHub. Facebook, however, fell on new privacy concerns.

Retailers such as Target, Walmart and Under Armour rallied, as did Amazon. Energy companies fell as the price of oil continued to slide.

After an up-and-down week last week, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, a market benchmark used by many index funds, is on its first winning streak in three weeks. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite finished at a record high, above a mark it set March 12, and the smaller Russell 2000 surpassed a record it set last week.

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Last week, investors reacted to political turmoil in Italy and rising trade tensions as the United States continued to hold talks with Chinese officials and placed tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Europe, Mexico and Canada.

Stocks have wobbled in the last few months as investors worried that tariffs and other barriers to trade will reduce economic growth and corporate profits. But Wall Street has mostly treated the tough talk and proposed tariffs as a negotiating tactic. Invesco Chief Global Market Strategist Kristina Hooper said the United States crossed an important dividing line last week when, after months of talks, its aluminum and steel import duties went into effect.

“It appears that will lead to some significant retaliatory tariffs,” she said. “Markets seem to treat it as if it’s just rhetoric and it’s just a bargaining tool, and my view is that that is foolhardy.”

The S&P 500 index climbed 12.25 points, or 0.4%, to 2,746.87. On Friday, the index jumped 1.1% after a strong jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 178.48 points, or 0.7%, to 24,813.69. The Nasdaq composite climbed 52.13 points, or 0.7%, to 7,606.46.

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The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks advanced 5.39 points, or 0.3%, to 1,653.37.

Apple climbed 0.8% to $191.83. Alphabet rose 1.6% to $1,153.04. Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices climbed 3.1% to $14.85.

Microsoft rose 0.9% to $101.67 after the company said it will pay $7.5 billion in stock for GitHub. About 27 million software developers around the world use GitHub to share code and build businesses.

Among retailers, Target climbed 4.9% to $76.35. Walmart ticked up 2.9% to $85.42 after it agreed to sell an 80% stake in its struggling Brazilian business.

Hooper, of Invesco, said Wall Street is overlooking the threat that tariffs pose because it’s focused on solid economic news from the United States.

“We have enough positive economic data that it’s easy enough to put blinders on when it comes to threats like protectionism,” she said.

Energy companies lost ground as benchmark U.S. crude dropped 1.6% to $64.75 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 2% to $75.29 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline fell 1% to $2.12 a gallon. Heating oil slid 1.1% to $2.15 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.1% to $2.93 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Nektar Therapeutics plunged 41.8% to $52.57 after it disclosed data from a potential treatment for pancreatic cancer. The San Francisco biotech firm’s stock had made huge gains since early November. Shares of its partner Bristol-Myers Squibb fell 3.1% to $51.56.

Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.94% from 2.90%.

Gold fell 0.2% to $1,297.30 an ounce. Silver slipped 0.1% to $16.43 an ounce. Copper rose 1.2% to $3.13 a pound.

The dollar rose to 109.58 yen from 109.51 yen. The euro rose to $1.1719 from $1.1662.

In overseas markets, Germany’s DAX rose 0.4%, France’s CAC 40 ticked up 0.2%, and Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.5%. The benchmark Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.4%. The South Korean Kospi gained 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rallied 1.7%.


UPDATES:

2:45 p.m.: This article was updated with closing prices, context and analyst comment.

1:20 p.m.: This article was updated with the close of markets.

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This article was originally published at 7:35 a.m.


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