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Industrials power Wall Street higher on trade optimism

Kitco News

(Reuters) - Gains in technology and industrial stocks put Wall Street on track for their fourth week of gains on Friday, amid growing optimism that the United States and China would resolve their bitter trade dispute.

U.S. stocks rose to session highs after a Bloomberg report said China has offered to go on a six-year buying spree to ramp up U.S. imports in order to reconfigure the relation between the two countries.

This follows another report from Thursday that said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. A Treasury spokesman denied Mnuchin had made any such recommendation.

Trade-sensitive industrials stocks .SPLRCI rose 1.57 percent, the most among S&P sectors, while the Philadelphia SE semiconductor index .SOX climbed 2.61 percent. A 1.24 percent rise in technology sector .SPLRCT was the biggest boost to S&P 500.

“Markets have not seemed to dwell in any issue more consistently than the trade war,” said Everett Millman, precious metals specialist at Gainesville Coins in Lutz, Florida.

“There is definitely a lot of room for a rebound in markets. It wouldn’t be surprising to see big tech companies like Alphabet or Microsoft getting a little boost in the first half of the year because they still have solid earnings and also if there is no news about the trade war which may shock everyone.”

Schlumberger (SLB.N) jumped 7.03 percent after the world’s largest oilfield services provider’s quarterly revenue beat estimates.

The energy sector .SPSY, which is the best performing S&P sector so far in 2019, rose 1.46 percent, also boosted by higher oil prices.

At 11:00 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 205.42 points, or 0.84 percent, at 24,575.52, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 26.02 points, or 0.99 percent, at 2,661.98 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 68.75 points, or 0.97 percent, at 7,153.21.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors rose, putting the benchmark index about 10 percent away from its Sept.20 record close after having rallied from a 20-month low on Christmas Eve.

Adding to the upbeat mood, latest data showed U.S. manufacturing output increased by the most in 10 months in December, which could allay fears of a sharp slowdown in factory activity.

Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) fell 3.29 percent as investors looked past its record subscriber numbers and instead focused on its lower-than-expected revenue forecast for the first quarter.

Rest of the FAANG members, which will report their quarterly results in the coming weeks, rose between 0.5 percent and 0.9 percent.

American Express Co (AXP.N) dipped 0.63 percent and was the top decliner on the Dow after the credit-card company’s fourth-quarter profit fell short of estimates.

Earnings season gains momentum as more than 50 S&P 500 companies report results in the upcoming holiday-shortened week.

Analysts have lowered their fourth-quarter earnings forecast for S&P 500 companies to 14.2 percent from 20.1 percent estimated on Oct. 1, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.40-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.45-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 22 new highs and 10 new lows.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Arun Koyyur

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