Wall Street opens at record high on optimism over US-China trade deal

Topics Wall Street | US stocks | Dow Jones

The S&P 500 opened higher by 12.05 points, or 0.39%, at 3,078.96
Wall Street's three main indexes hit record highs on Monday, lifted by gains in energy and technology stocks on hopes of a U.S.-China trade deal and an improving domestic economy.

U.S. officials on Friday indicated that a trade deal with China could be signed this month, with risk sentiment also boosted by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross saying on Sunday that licenses for U.S. companies to sell components to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd would come "very shortly".

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, with energy gaining the most, up 3.13%, as oil prices rose.

The technology sector gained 0.46%, as trade-sensitive chip stocks rallied and also helped the Philadelphia Semiconductor index to a record high.

"Signing these deals take time. All that is needed for markets to be happy right now is for an agreement to be announced," said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

"The earnings period was certainly enough to support current stock prices. It wasn't good enough to lead stocks higher but not bad enough for them to go any lower," he added.

The third-quarter earnings season has been fairly upbeat, with 76% of the 360 S&P 500 companies that have reported results so far beating profit expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

Last week's interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve, hopes of a trade deal and a better-than-feared October jobs growth report have been the main catalysts of the recent rally.

At 1:07 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 97.28 points, or 0.36%, at 27,444.64, while the S&P 500 was up 12.40 points, or 0.40%, at 3,079.31. The Nasdaq Composite was up 45.81 points, or 0.55%, at 8,432.20.

Financial stocks gained 0.90%, helped by a 1.2% rise in shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc after it topped estimates for quarterly operating profit.

Sectors considered defensive plays due to their high dividend yields - real estate, utilities and consumer staples - were the only ones down.

The biggest drag on the blue-chip Dow Jones index was a 3% drop in shares of McDonald's Corp after the fast-food giant dismissed Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook over a consensual relationship with an employee.

Under Armour Inc fell 17% as the sportswear maker lowered its full-year revenue forecast for a second straight time this year, a day after it confirmed a federal probe related to its accounting practices.

Shares in medical device maker Wright Medical surged 32% after larger rival Stryker Corp said it would buy the company for about $4 billion. Stryker shares fell 4.7%.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.68-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.79-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 61 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 119 new highs and 25 new lows


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