Tech companies pushed stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Monday afternoon, placing the market on track for its third straight gain.
The surge in technology stocks followed a decision by the U.S. to give Chinese telecom giant Huawei another 90 days to buy equipment from American suppliers. As China’s biggest phone maker, sales to Huawei account for a significant portion of revenues for some U.S. suppliers, including chipmakers Qualcomm, Intel and Micron. Shares in those companies and other chipmakers rose.
Financial stocks also rose as bond prices headed lower, sending yields higher. Wells Fargo added 2.2% and Citigroup rose 1.4%.
The rise in bond yields is a reversal from much of August, when the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China prompted investors to seek the safety of U.S. government bonds, sending yields sharply lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 1.60% from 1.54% late Friday.
Stocks were coming off their third weekly loss in a row as investors try to parse conflicting signals on the U.S. economy and determine whether a recession is on the horizon.
Last week, many stock indexes around the world struck their lowest levels this year, before a late rally suggested some calm was returning to the markets in what is a traditionally low-volume time of the year. Analysts say the concerns that drove last week’s sell-off could resurface at any time.
“Today is an up day because we have some better news on China,” said Kate Warne, chief investment strategist at Edward Jones. “There’s likely to be many of these 1% higher, 1% lower days, as investors search for a longer-term direction. And that’s what we don’t have yet.”
Big department store chains also rose Monday, recovering some of the ground lost last week after Macy’s slashed its profit forecast for the year. Nordstrom gained 3.2%, Gap added 4.3% and Kohl’s picked up 6%. Macy’s rose 1.3%.
Energy stocks led all other sectors in the S&P 500 with a gain of 2.3%. The stocks climbed along with a pickup in crude oil prices. Hess was up 5.5%.
Traders will also be weighing new data on sales of new U.S. homes Friday and earnings reports from several big retailers this week, including Home Depot, Target and Gap, for any hints about the health of consumer spending.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 1.3% as of 3:24 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 286 points, or 1.1%, to 26,175. The Nasdaq climbed 1.5%.
Major stock indexes in Europe also rose.
EYE ON THE FED: This week offers investors a couple of opportunities to gauge the Federal Reserve’s willingness to cut interest rates further.
The central bank is releasing the minutes from its last meeting of policymakers Wednesday. Two days later, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to deliver a speech at the central bank’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Investors are hoping the Fed will continue to cut interest rates to shore up economic growth. The Fed lowered interest rates by a quarter-point at its last meeting. It was the first time it lowered rates in a decade.
In two tweets Monday, President Donald Trump called on the Fed to cut interest rates by at least a full percentage point “over a fairly short period of time,” saying that such an action would make the U.S. economy even better and would also “greatly and quickly” enhance the global economy.
CONFLICTING SIGNALS: The steadier mood on Wall Street was evident in the fact that markets appeared to shrug off a report showing that one-third of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics said they believe a slowing U.S. economy will tip into recession in 2021. That’s up from 25% in the equivalent survey taken in February.
Trump spent a good portion of the last week tweeting about the U.S. economy from his New Jersey golf club, trying to allay concerns of recession and offering an optimistic outlook for the economy after last week’s steep drop in the financial markets.
“I don’t think we’re having a recession,” Trump told reporters Sunday as he returned to Washington from his New Jersey golf club.
TRADE WAR: Investors are weighing how much of an impact the trade conflict between Washington and Beijing will have on global economies, some of which are already showing signs of slowing.
Earlier this month, Trump announced plans to extend tariffs across virtually all Chinese imports, many of them consumer products that were exempt from early rounds of tariffs. The tariffs have been delayed, but ultimately will raise costs for U.S. companies bringing goods in from China.
Huawei has become part of the trade war, with the White House showing a willingness to use sanctions against the company as a bargaining chip. The U.S. government blacklisted Huawei in May, deeming it a national security risk, meaning U.S. firms aren’t allowed to sell the company technology without government approval.
Investors greeted the Trump administration’s decision to extend a limited reprieve on U.S. sales to Huawei as a positive sign. Chipmakers Nvidia rose 6.3%, Qualcomm added 2.3%, Micron Technology gained 3.4% and Intel picked up 1.7%.
FRUITFUL CHAT? Apple shares rose 2.3% on news that CEO Tim Cook met with President Trump over the weekend and discussed how U.S. tariffs on goods imported from China are making it tougher for the iPhone maker to compete with rival Samsung.
Apple has manufacturing facilities in China, while Samsung builds its products mainly in South Korea.
“I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I’m thinking about it,” Trump told reporters.
WILDFIRE FALLOUT: PG&E sank 25.4% after a court ruled that the utility company will have to face a jury trial to determine whether it is liable for a deadly wildfire in 2017.