Company News

US STOCKS-S&P 500, Nasdaq hit records amid trade optimism; Boeing boosts Dow

* Boeing shares rise after CEO exit

* Apache jumps after joint venture with Total

* S&P 500 boosted by energy, industrials

* Indexes rise: Dow 0.38%, S&P 0.14%, Nasdaq 0.28% (Updates with mid-afternoon trading)

Dec 23 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq hit record highs on Monday after President Donald Trump said an initial U.S.-China trade pact would be signed soon, while Boeing was a big boost to the Dow after the planemaker ousted its chief executive officer.

Boeing Co shares, which have a particularly big influence on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, gained 2.7% and also lifted the S&P 500 industrials sector. CEO Dennis Muilenburg’s exit followed a prolonged crisis that has seen Boeing halt production of its best-selling 737 MAX jetliner following two fatal crashes.

Trump over the weekend said the United States and China would “very shortly” sign their so-called Phase 1 trade pact, which was announced earlier this month and has helped propel the U.S. stock market to records. The S&P 500 hit an intraday all-time high for an eighth straight session on Monday.

Additionally, China will lower tariffs on products ranging from frozen pork and avocado to some types of semiconductors next year.

“It’s a continuation of some of the positive sentiment we have felt in markets in part driven by the removal of some of the big overhangs we had earlier this year, including U.S.-China trade,” said Mona Mahajan, U.S. investment strategist with Allianz Global Investors in New York.

“The key for businesses is that tariffs may not escalate further from this point,” Mahajan said. “That’s critical for business confidence and the overall backdrop in which they’re operating.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 107.18 points, or 0.38%, to 28,562.27, the S&P 500 gained 4.36 points, or 0.14%, to 3,225.58 and the Nasdaq Composite added 25.36 points, or 0.28%, to 8,950.32.

Energy and industrials were the best-performing S&P 500 sectors, while utilities lagged the most.

The benchmark S&P 500 has climbed more than 28% so far in 2019, helped by improving investor sentiment over trade relations, interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, and optimism the economy will avoid a severe downturn at least in the near term.

Data on Monday showed new orders for key U.S.-made capital goods barely rose in November and shipments fell, suggesting business investment will probably remain a drag on economic growth in the fourth quarter.

In other company news, Apache Corp shares soared 15.5% after it and French rival Total announced a joint venture to develop a project off Suriname, in a deal that gives the U.S. oil and gas producer a cash injection.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.22-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.11-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 45 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 129 new highs and 30 new lows. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Additional reporting by Manas Mishra and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Lisa Shumaker)