(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Friday, as technology shares were boosted by signs of progress in the ongoing trade talks between the United States and China.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 19, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Top trade negotiators from the two countries met to wrap up a week of talks on some of the thorniest issues in their trade war, with President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He set to meet at the Oval Office later in the day.
Stocks have largely risen this week on hopes of a trade deal, but a batch of weak data pointing to growing headwinds to the U.S. economy put the brakes on the S&P 500’s three-day rally on Thursday.
“There seems to be quite a bit of optimism around trade discussions,” said Shawn Cruz, manager of trading strategy at TD Ameritrade in Jersey City, New Jersey.
“What I’m expecting them to say is that the talks are proceeding and that they’re comfortable postponing the tariff increase on March 1.”
Tech stocks jumped 1.12 percent, leading gains among the 11 major S&P sectors and putting the benchmark index on track for its four weeks of gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite were on course to post nine straight weeks of gains.
Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and chipmakers led the rally in the tech sector. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index gained 1.08 percent, led by Intel Corp’s 2.7 percent rise after Morgan Stanley lifted its rating to “overweight”.
At 12:41 p.m. ET the Dow was up 168.11 points, or 0.65 percent, at 26,018.74. The S&P 500 was up 15.30 points, or 0.55 percent, at 2,790.18 and the Nasdaq was up 54.64 points, or 0.73 percent, at 7,514.34.
Kraft Heinz Co tumbled 27.4 percent, weighing the most on the S&P along with a 1.7 percent fall in Class B shares of the company’s controlling stakeholder, Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
The packaged food company posted a quarterly loss, disclosed an SEC probe and wrote down the value of its iconic Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands.
The S&P consumer staples sector slipped 0.51 percent, followed by a 0.19 percent drop in financials.
Kraft Heinz rivals General Mills, Conagra Brands and Kellogg Co fell about 3 percent each.
Trade-exposed industrials sector climbed 0.44 percent, with bellwether Boeing Co up 1.4 percent.
Newmont Mining Corp rose 4.4 percent after Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp confirmed that it was considering an all-stock bid for the company.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.22-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.26-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 59 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 100 new highs and 20 new lows.
Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva