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Stocks rise on Wall Street as rally stretches to fourth day

Wall Street
Outside the New York Stock Exchange. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched all-time highs on Monday, driven in part by strong economic reports out of China.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street on Monday, extending the market’s gains from last week and sending the major indexes to record highs.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq notched all-time highs for the third straight trading day. Surprisingly strong economic reports out of China helped drive the rally. Growth in factory activity and retail sales in the world’s second-largest economy beat analysts’ expectations for last month.

The economic reports gave investors more reason for encouragement. The market got a big confidence boost late last week after the United States and China reached a long-awaited “Phase 1” trade deal. The trade pact removed some of the uncertainty that’s hung over businesses and investors.

“What’s important about it is that we’re not witnessing an acceleration in the trade war,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “Right now, what the market is looking at is the possibility that we go into 2020 and we actually see global growth beginning to emerge, even if it’s not immediate..”

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The S&P 500 rose 22.65 points, or 0.7%, to 3,191.45. The benchmark index is on a four-day winning streak and is up 27.3% for the year.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 100.51 points, or 0.4%, to 28,235.89. The Nasdaq composite climbed 79.35 points, or 0.9%, to 8,814.23.

Wall Street’s latest gains followed a rally in global stocks as traders welcomed news that China’s industrial production rose 6.2% in November from a year earlier. Meanwhile, retail sales growth rose to a five-month high of 8% from October’s 7.2%.

“With some trade uncertainty removed last week, investors should start feeling more confident that China will be able to keep their economy growing at 6% or better in 2020,” said Edward Moya, an economist with Oanda.

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The U.S. and China agreed last week to cut tariffs on some of each other’s goods and postpone other tariff threats, the first time the two countries have stepped back from the brink in their 17-month trade fight. In return, China promised to ramp up its purchases of U.S. agricultural, energy and other goods and to stop forcing U.S. companies to turn over technology as a condition of doing business in that country.

Technology stocks accounted for a big slice of the rally Monday. Micron Technology jumped 3.4%, and Broadcom rose 2.4%. Healthcare stocks also notched solid gains. Centene climbed 4%.

Energy stocks were the market’s best performers, rising 1.4%, after the price of oil added a bit to its gain last week and natural gas prices jumped. Oil and gas producer EOG Resources climbed 3.2%, while Marathon Petroleum rose 3.7%.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 14 cents to $60.21 per barrel, close to its highest level in three months. Brent crude, the international standard, added 12 cents to $65.34 per barrel.

Treasury yields rallied. The 10-year yield rose to 1.88% from 1.82% late Friday.

Higher rates can mean bigger profits for banks making loans and more interest income for insurers, brokerages and other financial companies. Bank of America and Wells Fargo each rose 0.8%. Financial stocks in the S&P 500 overall gained 0.4%.

Boeing fell 4.3% on a report that the company may cut production of its troubled 737 Max airplane or even suspend it all together.

International Flavors and Fragrances slumped 10.4% for the biggest loss in the S&P 500 after it said it’s merging with DuPont’s Nutrition and Biosciences unit in a $26.2-billion deal.

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Gold fell 60 cents to $1,475 per ounce, silver rose 11 cents to $17.02 per ounce and copper gained 4 cents to $2.82 per pound.

The dollar rose to 109.59 Japanese yen from 109.32 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1147 from $1.1121.


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