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Stocks soar as investors push through anxiety about U.S.-China trade war

New York Stock Exchange
The facade of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City on Jan. 15 is shown.
(Justin Lane / EPA)

Technology companies powered stocks broadly higher on Wall Street on Thursday, driving the S&P 500 to its best day in more than two months and erasing its losses for the week.

The rally, which pushed the Dow Jones industrial average up by more than 370 points, followed an early rise in bonds yields after a weekly government report on unemployment claims came in better than economists had expected.

Worries that the trade dispute between the U.S. and China is hurting the global economy roiled the market earlier this week, sending many investors fleeing to safer holdings, such as U.S. government bonds. That pulled bond yields sharply lower.

The absence of new worrisome turns in the U.S.-China trade tussle may have also helped keep investors in a buying mood Thursday.

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The S&P 500 index rose 54.11 points, or 1.9%, to 2,938.09. The index has risen for three straight days.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 371.12 points, or 1.4%, to 26,378.19. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, vaulted 176.33 points, or 2.2%, to 8,039.16. It also had its best day in more than two months and was on track to end the week with a gain.

Bond prices fell early in the day, sending yields higher. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note went as high as 1.79% before falling back to 1.72% in late trading, little changed from late Wednesday.

President Trump spooked the markets last week when he threatened to impose 10% tariffs on all Chinese imports that haven’t already been hit with tariffs of 25%. China retaliated on Monday and allowed its currency, the yuan, to weaken against the U.S. dollar. China stabilized the yuan on Tuesday and that helped lift U.S. stocks following their worst day of the year.

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Before Monday’s 3% drop for the S&P 500, the stock market hadn’t seen a loss of even half that size since mid-May. The last drop of 3% was on Dec. 4, when investors were worried that the Federal Reserve was raising interest rates too aggressively and would combine with trade concerns to create a recession.

In Thursday’s market rebound, investors snapped up technology stocks in a signal that they are more willing to take on risk after several days of fleeing to safer holdings. Microsoft rose 2.7% and Oracle gained 2.5%.

Uber slumped 5% in after-hours trading after the ride-hailing service’s second-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. Rival Lyft rose 3% a day after its quarterly results topped analysts’ estimates and the company raised its revenue forecast for the year.

Kraft skidded 8.6% after the maker of Oscar Mayer, Cool Whip and other products revealed a sharp profit plunge in the first half of the year and some hefty charges.

Benchmark crude oil rose $1.45 to settle at $52.54 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose $1.15 to close at $57.38 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.65 per gallon.

Gold fell $9.60 to $1,497.70 per ounce, and silver lost 26 cents to $16.90 per ounce.

The dollar fell to 105.95 Japanese yen from 106.12 yen on Tuesday. The euro fell to $1.1185 from $1.1214.


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