October 21, 2019 / 11:48 AM / 2 months ago

Trade hopes move S&P 500 close to new record high

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The benchmark S&P 500 stock index rose within striking distance of a record high on Monday as further signs of progress toward resolution of the U.S.-China trade war boosted shares in sectors sensitive to trade and the global economy.

U.S. President Donald Trump continued to strike optimistic tones, while White House adviser Larry Kudlow said tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled for December could be withdrawn if talks go well.

“People are continuing to be optimistic that some type of trade truce with China can be pushed forward,” said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer of Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Trade-sensitive technology stocks .SPLRCT rose 1.1%, adding the most to the S&P 500. Semiconductor companies, which derive much of their revenue from China, especially climbed. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index advanced 1.9%.

The economically sensitive energy .SPNY and financial .SPSY sectors led percentage gains on the S&P 500. Energy shares gained 1.9% while financials rose 1.4%.

Stocks have also benefited from the steepening U.S. Treasury yield curve as well as better-than-expected corporate earnings thus far, said Mona Mahajan, U.S. investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors in New York. In Monday’s trading, the S&P 500 rose above 3000 to come within 0.7% of its record closing high.

“We’re watching for a breakout to the upside of that range,” she said. “Thus far, the early signs we’re seeing are favorable.”

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 21, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Losses in Boeing Co (BA.N) capped gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Boeing shares shed 3.8% as several brokerages downgraded ratings on the stock following reports that cast doubt on when the 737 MAX jet will return to service.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 57.44 points, or 0.21%, to 26,827.64, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 20.52 points, or 0.69%, to 3,006.72 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 73.44 points, or 0.91%, to 8,162.99.

This week’s earnings lineup includes high-profile companies such as Boeing, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N), United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N).

According to data from Refinitiv, analysts have projected the first earnings contraction since 2016 for S&P 500 companies. But of the 75 companies that have reported results so far, only 12% have come short of earnings estimates.

Halliburton Co (HAL.N) shares gained 6.4% after the oilfield services provider detailed further planned cost reductions.

Coty Inc (COTY.N) shares surged 13.4% after the cosmetics maker said it planned to sell its professional beauty business with brands such as Wella and OPI.

U.S.-listed shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA.N) (TEVA.TA) jumped 8.7% after the company announced progress toward settling remaining opioid-related litigation.

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Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.95-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.09-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 41 new 52-week highs and two new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 93 new highs and 64 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 5.92 billion shares, which was below the 6.55 billion average for the last 20 trading sessions.

Reporting by April Joyner; Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio

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