Wall Street rises as trade fears ease; Fed minutes awaited

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(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose broadly on Thursday as the United States dialed back its stance on tariffs on European cars while moving to impose duties on Chinese goods worth $34 billion.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Tariffs continued to dictate trading activity but investors also awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s minutes from its June 12-13 policy meeting, where it raised interest rates for the second time this year and signaled that more are likely.

Shares of big U.S. automakers General Motors and Ford rose but technology stocks led the gains, with chipmakers Qualcomm, Micron and Qorvo rising the most in tech indexes.

Part of those gains were driven by Micron, which forecast only a small hit from a temporary ban on some chip sales in China, also lifting the S&P technology index and the Philadelphia Semiconductor index.

The Trump administration’s tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports are due to go into effect at 0401 GMT on Friday and Beijing said it would respond immediately and in equal measure on U.S. goods ranging from cars to soybeans.

There was no evidence of any last-minute negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials, business sources in Washington and Beijing said.

“You have mixed messages about tariffs coming out of Washington,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

“It’s creating a lot of uncertainty about the direction of the true intentions of the White House.”

(GRAPHIC: The U.S.-China tariff war and the S&P 500 – reut.rs/2tV7kTm)

Trade tensions between the two economies have roiled financial markets since early March, reducing the S&P 500’s gain to just about 2 percent this year.

“I think that (tariffs) has the possibility to take away the stimulus of the tax bill passed late last year,” said Mark Travis, chief executive officer of Intrepid Capital Funds in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

At 13:06 ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 179.32 points, or 0.74 percent, at 24,354.14, the S&P 500 was up 20.55 points, or 0.76 percent, at 2,733.77 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 71.07 points, or 0.95 percent, at 7,573.74.

U.S. markets were closed on Wednesday for the Fourth of July holiday, and Travis said the low volumes could make the markets more volatile.

The ADP National Employment Report showed private employers added 177,000 jobs in June, below Reuters’ consensus of an increase of 190,000. That comes ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payroll report on Friday.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.18-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.07-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded three new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 63 new highs and 27 new lows.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; editing by Arun Koyyur and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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