Financial Markets

Stocks Rise as US, China Ease Trade Tensions

By DAMIAN J. TROISE AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose in midday trading Thursday after the U.S. and China took more steps to ease tensions in their long-standing trade war that threatens to hurt the broader global economy.

Technology stocks led the gains and helped extend Wednesday’s rally. Tech companies, particularly chipmakers, are heavily impacted by the trade war because many of them make products in China or rely on Chinese suppliers.

Microsoft, the most valuable company in the S&P 500 index, rose 1%, while PayPal gained 3.2%.

Consumer-focused stocks also had solid gains. McDonald’s rose 1.5%.

Health care stocks also helped power a rally for the second day. Medical device maker Abbott gained 1.1%.

Energy companies tumbled as oil prices slid 2%. Oilfield services company Schlumberger shed 2.4%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.77% from 1.73% a day earlier.

Investors saw more encouraging signs in the U.S.-China trade dispute. The U.S. has 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.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% as of 12:10 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 98 points, or 0.4%, to 27,235. The Nasdaq rose 0.4%.

STRONG SEPTEMBER: Several weeks of solid gains have helped the S&P 500 more than recoup its losses in August and it is edging closer to its record-high of 3,025.86, reached July 26.

The index is also on track for its best September since 2013. The S&P 500 is up 2.9% this month after slipping 1.8% in August. The S&P 500 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 5.2%, with much of the gain coming this week. Smaller companies within the index are viewed as more insulated from the impact of volatile swings in the U.S.-China trade war.

OVERSEAS: Stocks in Europe rose following the European Central Bank’s latest round of economic stimulus. The central bank cut the rate on deposits it takes from banks and said it will start buying bonds, which will help pump money into the financial system and lower borrowing costs. The rate cut was widely expected as the European Union faces an uncertain future with Britain’s likely chaotic exit on Oct. 31. European nations are also facing a broad economic slowdown as the impact of the U.S.-China trade war reverberates globally.

Stocks moved higher in Asia.

SHORT HEM: Tailored Brands plunged 25.1% after giving investors a dismal third quarter profit forecast and halting its dividend. The company also expects a decline in sales, including at its struggling Men’s Wearhouse stores and Jos. A Bank locations.

CEO SURPRISE: DXC Technology fell 17.2% after the information technology company said CEO Mike Lawrie retired and is being replaced by Mike Salvino, a current board member at DXC and former managing director at a tech sector focused investment firm.

Copyright Associated Press

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.