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Stocks close broadly higher, led by tech companies, banks

Wall Street
A Wall Street sign in New York.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

Technology companies and banks helped power stocks on Wall Street broadly higher Monday, extending the market’s gains of the last two weeks.

The rally came as investors found fresh reason for optimism as the U.S. and China continue negotiations aimed at resolving their costly trade war. China’s top negotiator said over the weekend that “substantial progress” was being made in its talks with the U.S. Tensions over trade between Washington and Beijing have cooled recently.

The latest gains nudged the S&P 500 above 3,000 points for the first time in a month. The benchmark index is now within 0.7% of its all-time high set on July 26.

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The S&P 500 index rose 20.52 points, or 0.7%, to 3,006.72. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 57.44 points, or 0.2%, to 26,827.64. The index was weighed down by a sharp drop in Boeing shares. The Nasdaq climbed 73.44 points, or 0.9%, to 8,162.99.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks did much better than other indices in another sign of investors’ confidence. The index picked up 14.66 points, or 1%, to 1,550.14.

As they wait for trade talk developments, investors have been shifting their focus to corporate earnings reports. Monday was a relatively quiet start to a week full of results from major companies.

Analysts came into this latest earnings season expecting profits to decline overall for companies in the S&P 500. But with about 15% of companies in the index reporting so far, results have been surprisingly positive.

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Earnings growth fell slightly in the first and second quarters, according to data from FactSet, which was better than Wall Street’s expectation at the start of those reporting seasons.

Chipmakers, many of which are highly reliant on China for business, made some of the strongest gains Monday. Nvidia rose 2.9% and Micron Technology added 4%. Apple rose 1.7%

Banks benefited from a solid rise in bond yields. Citigroup gained 3%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.80% from 1.75% late Friday. Higher yields allow banks to charge more lucrative interest on mortgages and other loans.

Traders continued to hammer Boeing shares. The stock fell 3.8% on top of a 6.8% slide on Friday. Investors are concerned about the latest revelations surrounding its 737 Max airplanes. Congress is ramping up its scrutiny of Boeing as its chief executive, Dennis Muilenburg, is scheduled to testify to the House’s transportation committee on Oct. 30.

In messages released last week, former senior Boeing test pilot Mark Forkner told a co-worker in 2016 he unknowingly misled safety regulators about problems with a flight-control system that would later be implicated in two deadly crashes.

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Energy futures closed broadly lower Monday. Benchmark crude oil fell 47 cents to settle at $53.31 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped 46 cents to close at $58.96 a barrel.

Gold fell $6 to $1,488.10 per ounce and silver added 2 cents to $17.60 per ounce.

The dollar rose to 108.58 Japanese yen from 108.46 yen on Friday. The euro weakened to $1.1146 from $1.1163.


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