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Stocks rise on fresh optimism ahead of U.S.-China trade talks

Wall Street
It was an up day on Wall Street, with the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index closing within 0.6% of its all-time high.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

Stocks rose on Wall Street on Thursday after the U.S. and China took steps to ease tensions in their costly trade war, putting investors in a buying mood.

Technology, financial and consumer-focused stocks helped power the modest rally, which extended the market’s solid gains from the day before despite losing some momentum in the final hour of trading. The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed within 0.6% of its all-time high set July 26.

The U.S. agreed to delay another round of tariffs on Chinese imports by two weeks to Oct. 15. Meanwhile, Chinese importers have asked U.S. suppliers for prices for soybeans, pork and other farm goods — a sign they might step up purchases of American agricultural products.

The S&P 500 index rose 8.64 points, or 0.3%, to 3,009.57. The Dow Jones industrial average extended its winning streak to a seventh straight session, gaining 45.41 points, or 0.2%, to 27,182.45. The Nasdaq added 24.79 points, or 0.3%, to 8,194.47.

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Several weeks of solid gains have helped the S&P 500 more than recoup its losses in August, nudging it closer to another record high close this week.

The index is also on track for its best September since 2013. The S&P 500 is up 2.8% this month after slipping 1.8% in August. That’s notable because the index has fallen in September 55% of the time since World War II, although the record has been better during the 10-year bull market.

Small companies are the star performers so far this month. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks is up 5.4%, with much of the gain coming this week. Those smaller companies are viewed as more insulated from the effects of volatile swings in the U.S.-China trade war.

Tech stocks notched solid gains Thursday. Chipmaker Intel gained 0.4%, while Advanced Micro Devices rose 1.5%. Microsoft, the most valuable company in the S&P 500, added 1%.

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Consumer-focused stocks also helped lift the market. Starbucks rose 1.2%.

Energy companies tumbled as oil prices slid 1.2%. Oil-field services company Schlumberger dropped 1.1%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.78% from 1.73% a day earlier, giving a boost to financial sector stocks. Higher yields drive interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans higher, which drives up bank profits.

Tailored Brands plunged 29.8% after the owner of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A Bank gave investors a dismal third-quarter profit forecast and halted its dividend.

Investors gave a cool reception to SmileDirectClub’s stock market debut. Shares in the direct-to-consumer teeth-straightening company ended 27.5% lower than their opening price.

Benchmark crude oil fell 66 cents to $55.09 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped 43 cents to $60.38 a barrel.

Gold rose $4.30 to $1,498.70 an ounce.

The dollar rose to 108.14 Japanese yen from 107.79 yen Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1073 from $1.1007.


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