Wall Street climbs on easing trade worries

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street’s three major indexes added to gains late in Wednesday’s session as the S&P 500 and the Dow were boosted by financial and industrial stocks and ebbing trade-war fears while the Nasdaq was set for a fourth straight day of gains.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said late in the trading day that U.S. President Donald Trump is set to hold bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a summit of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations later this week.

This came after earlier reports that U.S. officials were weighing an offer by China to import an extra $70 billion of American goods over a year, according to sources, as Beijing tries to defuse a potential trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

“The trade rhetoric has once again dialed back,” said Mona Mahajan, U.S. Investment Strategist, Allianz Global Investors, New York. “It’s the on-again off-again threat of protectionism. It’s off again.”

Trump last week pushed on with imposing tariffs — 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum — on Canada, the EU and Mexico, with Mexico retaliating by putting tariffs on American products ranging from steel to pork and bourbon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 287.21 points, or 1.16 percent, to 25,087.19, the S&P 500 gained 19.11 points, or 0.70 percent, to 2,767.91 and the Nasdaq Composite added 38.89 points, or 0.51 percent, to 7,676.76.

Investors were also eyeing strong U.S. economic growth momentum in Europe appeared to be slowing, according to Mahajan.

The benchmark U.S. Treasury yield rose to a near two-week high after data showed that U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly fell to a seven-month low in April, supporting the view of an acceleration of domestic economic growth in the second quarter. [US/]

“We’ve continued to see momentum in the U.S. economy,” she said. “The U.S. is still in a more Goldilocks scenario where it’s getting good growth …. and inflation is above expectations but still below the 3 -3.5 pct levels we’ve seen pre-crisis.”

The S&P saw some of its biggest index point gains from the financial sector as bank stocks rose along with Treasury yields. Higher interest rates tend to help bank profits. The bank index was up 2.2 percent, rebounding from Tuesday’s decline.

Nasdaq’s biggest boost was from Comcast Corp. Tesla shares jumped 7.1 percent after billionaire Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk reassured shareholders that building 5,000 of its mass-market Model 3 cars per week by the end of June was “quite likely”.

However, Facebook was down 1 percent after the social networking company confirmed it had collaborated with at least four Chinese companies on sharing user data.

In the largest-ever shakeup of the stock market’s broad business sectors, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet will move from the top-performing technology sector to telecommunications and media stocks this fall.

Analysts have said the move could inject more volatility into the markets as index tracking funds will need to trade billions of dollars of stock to realign holdings by Sept. 28.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.61-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.78-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 52 new 52-week highs and 11 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 249 new highs and 18 new lows.

Additional reporting by April Joyner in New York, Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Chizu Nomiyama

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