Stocks marched higher on Wall Street Friday afternoon, riding investor optimism that the U.S. and China can make progress in their punishing trade war.
The broad rally drove the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than 470 points higher and had the S&P 500 index on track to close out its first weekly gain in four weeks.
Before meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for trade talks at the White House, President Donald Trump said, “Good things are happening.” Investors are hopeful the two sides can reach at least a limited deal on trade and tamp down tensions that have already dragged down manufacturing around the world.
One set of U.S. tariffs is scheduled to rise on Chinese products next week, and another round of tariffs is scheduled to take effect in December. The worry is that all the uncertainty about global trade may spill over into stronger areas of the economy, such as household spending, and cause a recession.
“The market is looking for anything here that shows forward progress,” said Ben Phillips, chief investment officer at EventShares. “If we get there, that’s enough for the market to say, ‘OK, we’re moving in the right direction and this isn’t going to be a disaster that stops the global expansion.’”
Treasury yields rose as investors felt less need for safety and dumped bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, a benchmark for mortgages and many other kinds of loans, jumped to 1.74% from 1.65% late Thursday, a big move.
The jump in yields helped send bank stocks higher on expectations of bigger profits for making loans. JPMorgan Chase rose 2.7%, and Bank of America climbed 2.5%.
Technology stocks, which often do lots of business with China, also helped power the indexes higher. Apple climbed 2.8%, and Broadcom added 3.1%.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was up 1.7%, as of 3 p.m. Eastern time. Earlier it had been up 1.9%. The Dow climbed 474 points, or 1.8%, to 26,971 after earlier being up nearly 500 points.
The Nasdaq rose 2%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market with a 2.6% gain.
TAMPING DOWN TRADE TENSIONS: Markets around the world have swung sharply on every morsel of progress or dissonance dribbling out about the U.S.-China trade war.
Any breakthrough on trade would mark a sharp turnaround from expectations earlier this week when the U.S. blacklisted a group of Chinese technology companies over alleged human rights violations. China has since signaled that it is open to making even a partial deal.
“It looks like the base case is a truce or a pause for a moment on tariffs,” Phillips said.
The Trump administration has already raised tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of Chinese imports, but the stakes have grown. If tariff increases scheduled for this upcoming Tuesday and December go through, they would cover nearly everything China ships to the United States.
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