US-China Trade Progress Sends Stocks Up05/21 16:08
Industrial and technology companies led stocks to solid gains Monday after
the U.S. and China appeared to make significant progress in trade talks.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Industrial and technology companies led stocks to solid
gains Monday after the U.S. and China appeared to make significant progress in
trade talks. That helped ease concerns among investors that the world's two
biggest economies might be headed for a trade war.
After another round of talks, the two countries agreed not to place tariffs
on goods imported from the other. The Chinese government said it will buy more
U.S. goods, including energy and agricultural products, while Treasury
Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the U.S. postponed its proposal to put tariffs on
up to $150 billion in goods from China. The two sides gave no indication of how
much progress they had made toward ending their dispute entirely and both said
hostilities could increase again.
Mark Hackett, chief of investment research at Nationwide Investment
Management, said investors overreacted to the possibility of a trade war and
they may be slowly learning to take a more patient approach with statements by
the Trump administration and other nations, which is a good thing, Hackett
says, because future administrations may borrow from Trump's aggressive style.
"Treating Trump literally is destructive for investors," he said. "There's a
lot of these issues where there are going to be hyperbolic statements made in
the public sphere by both sides."
The S&P 500 index climbed 20.04 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,733.01. The Dow
Jones industrial average rose as much as 371 points during the morning and
finished with a gain of 298.20 points, or 1.2 percent, to 25,013.29. The Nasdaq
composite gained 39.70 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,394.04. The Russell 2000
index of smaller-company stocks set another record close as it jumped 10.81
points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,637.44.
All 11 sectors in the S&P 500 index finished higher. Among industrials,
Boeing gained 3.6 percent to $363.92 and construction equipment maker
Caterpillar rose 2.1 percent to $158.92. In the financial sector, Bank of New
York Mellon added 1.3 percent to $57.72 and JPMorgan Chase rose 0.9 percent to
Trade disputes have occupied a lot of investors' attention for the last two
months. Stocks have rallied on signs progress was being made, only to fall back
when the situation appeared to worsen. Hackett said Wall Street could get over
its trade worries relatively quickly if talks go well.
If that happens, he said stocks could be set for further gains because they
are still below their early 2018 highs and analysts expect stronger earnings
growth, which makes stock prices seem less expensive.
General Electric rose 1.9 percent to $15.26 after announcing that its train
engine division will combine with railroad equipment maker Westinghouse Air
Brake Technologies in deal worth $11.1 billion. It's the latest step by GE's
CEO, John Flannery, to break off parts of the conglomerate. GE will get $2.9
billion in cash and will own 50.1 percent of the combined company, and the deal
will help it narrow its business down to the aviation, health care and energy
Wabtec gained 3.5 percent to $98.55.
Chipmakers rallied after Micron Technology raised its profit and revenue
forecasts for the fiscal third quarter. Micron jumped 3.9 percent to $55.48
while Intel picked up 1.5 percent to $54.32 and Lam Research added 2.2 percent
That contributed to a broad rally in technology stocks. Microsoft gained 1.3
percent to $97.60 and Google's parent company Alphabet rose 1.3 percent
Fifth Third Bancorp is buying Chicago's MB Financial for about $4.7 billion,
mostly in stock. The deal values MB at $54.20 per share, and its stock rose
12.9 percent to $49.28 while Fifth Third tumbled 7.9 percent to $30.90.
Investment manager Blackstone agreed to buy LaSalle Hotel Properties for
$33.50 a share, or $3.7 billion in cash. LaSalle jumped 5.4 percent to $33.61
while Blackstone rose along with other financial firms and gained 1.6 percent
Health care companies finished a bit higher overall but didn't do as well as
the rest of the market. Biotechnology companies lost groups as Celgene dropped
4.7 percent to $74.69 and Alexion Pharmaceuticals fell 1.4 percent to $119.37.
The dollar rose to 111.11 yen from 110.68 yen late Friday. The euro dipped
to $1.1772 from $1.1773.
Energy companies advanced as benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 1.3 percent to
$72.24 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oil,
added 0.9 percent to $79.22 per barrel in London.
Wholesale gasoline added 1 percent to $2.26 a gallon and heating oil rose
0.4 percent to $2.27 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.3 percent to $2.81 per 1,000
Gold was little changed at $1,290.90 an ounce. Silver rose 0.4 percent to
$16.52 an ounce. Copper picked up 1.1 percent to $3.10 a pound.
Bond prices held steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at
The British FTSE 100 gained 1 percent and France's CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent.
The German market was closed for a holiday. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.3
percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.6 percent and South Korea's Kospi added