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Wall Street hits fresh record high on trade deal hopes

Kitco News

(Reuters) - Wall Street hit fresh record highs on Thursday, as investors cheered signs of progress in U.S.-China trade relations and a batch of largely upbeat earnings reports.

The benchmark S&P 500 index .SPX is eyeing its fifth straight week of gains, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq .IXIC is on track to rise for a sixth week in a row.

China said on Thursday it had agreed with the United States to remove tariffs in phases, while state-owned Xinhua News Agency said Beijing was also considering removing restrictions on poultry imports.

“The bottom line is if some of the tariffs are relieved, it diminishes any prospect of a recession so that’s positive for stocks,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with a rally in oil prices driving a 1.27% gain in the energy sector .SPNY, while financials .SPSY were up 1.23% as the benchmark 10 year U.S. Treasury yield hit a three-month high. [US/]

The technology sector .SPLRCT provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500, riding on a 7.6% jump in Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) shares after it forecast current-quarter profit above analysts’ estimates.

Together with Qualcomm, other chipmakers, which have a sizeable exposure to China, also rose, propping the Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX 1.41% higher.

The trade-sensitive industrials sector .SPLRCI was up 0.7%.

“Trade right now looks like the one thing that can push the markets higher at this point, because we have got through earnings and most of the heavy hitting economic data points for the month,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

Of the 430 S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far, 74% have beaten profit expectations, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

At 1:04 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 248.63 points, or 0.90%, at 27,741.19, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 16.70 points, or 0.54%, at 3,093.48. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 58.55 points, or 0.70%, at 8,469.17.

Ralph Lauren Corp (RL.N) surged 12.7% after it topped second-quarter profit expectations, helped by a tighter control on expenses and strong demand for its Polo shirts and tweed jackets in China and Europe.

Expedia Group Inc (EXPE.O) plunged 26% as the online travel booking company missed quarterly profit estimates.

Roku Inc (ROKU.O) dropped 11% after posting a bigger net loss in the third quarter, as it spent more to attract subscribers to its video streaming platform.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.13-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.44-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 54 new 52-week highs and five new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 106 new highs and 69 new lows.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Shounak Dasgupta

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