Tech And Health Care Companies Lift U.S. Stock Indexes

FILE - In this Jan. 11, 2016, file photo, specialist Anthony Rinaldi is silhouetted on a screen at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, May 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in morning trading Monday as investors hoped for reduced trade tensions between the U.S. and China. President Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend that the U.S. could ease sanctions on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, while Bloomberg News reported that Chinese regulators planned to take another look at Qualcomm’s purchase of rival chipmaker NXP Semiconductors.

Technology and health care companies accounted for a big slice of the market’s gains. Energy stocks also rose as crude oil prices climbed. Banks moved higher along with bond yields.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index added 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,738 as of 11:16 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 143 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,974. The Nasdaq composite rose 44 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,447. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,608. The stock market is coming off its best weekly gain since early March.

U.S.-CHINA TRADE: Trump softened his tone on U.S.-China trade over the weekend, tweeting on Sunday that he would help ZTE get “back into business” despite U.S. sanctions, saying too many jobs in China are at stake after the U.S. government cut off access to its American suppliers. ZTE’s Hong Kong-traded shares have been suspended since U.S. authorities banned it last month for seven years from importing U.S. components in a case involving illegal exports to North Korea and Iran. China’s foreign ministry responded by saying it “highly commended” the move, ahead of trade talks in Washington this week.

U.S. companies that would stand to benefit from an effort to rescue ZTE moved higher. Acacia Communications jumped 11.9 percent to $35.26, while Oclaro gained 6.3 percent to $9.11.

WAITING ON CHINA: Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors got a boost as investors hope that Chinese regulators will reverse their stance and approve Qualcomm’s proposed $44 billion acquisition of NXP. China is the final major government withholding approval of the deal. But Bloomberg News reported that Chinese regulators are reviewing the deal again.

Qualcomm rose 2.9 percent to $56.82, while NXP surged 9.9 percent to $108.81.

UP WITH TECH: The market got a boost from a pickup in technology sector stocks. Symantec jumped 11.7 percent to $21.80.

OH SO HEALTHY: Investors continued to bid up shares in health care companies. CVS Health gained 2.3 percent to $65.90.

TUNED OUT: Viacom fell 6 percent to $28.41 after CBS sued its controlling shareholder, seeking to block efforts to make the company combine with Viacom. CBS shares added 5.3 percent to $55.28.

BET ON THIS: Casino operators and equipment makers surged after the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that barred gambling on football, basketball and other sporting events in most states. The ruling gives states the go-ahead to legalize sports betting. Penn National Gaming rose 4.5 percent to $33.69, while Empire Resorts jumped 9 percent to $21.20. Scientific Gaming, which makes casino and interactive games as well as lottery games, vaulted 10.2 percent to $58.80.

NO DEAL: Xerox slid 8.2 percent to $27.70 after the copier maker ended merger talks with Fujifilm and resolved a dispute with investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 49 cents to $71.19 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $1.02, or 1.3 percent, to $78.14 a barrel in London.

Rising oil prices helped lift energy stocks. Range Resources added 2.9 percent to $14.70.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.99 percent from 2.97 percent late Friday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.58 yen from 109.30 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1967 from $1.1945.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe declined. Germany’s DAX lost 0.3 percent, while France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged 0.2 percent lower. In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 0.5 percent higher. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.4 percent.

By ALEX VEIGA - MAY 14. 2018 - 11:28 AM EDT AP

 

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