NEW YORK — Stocks moved higher in midday trading on Wall Street Thursday as investors jumped on a statement from President Donald Trump that the U.S. is getting close to a “big deal” with China.
Traders were also encouraged by a Wall Street Journal report saying Washington has offered to slash existing tariffs and cancel new ones in exchange for more agricultural purchases and intellectual property protection. The S&P 500 is track for a record high.
Wall Street has been watching closely for any developments in the ongoing trade negotiations all week as the nations head for another escalation. A new round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods will kick in on Sunday and raise the prices of popular products including laptops and cellphones. Investors are hoping that enough progress is made to prompt a delay from Washington.
Banks helped lead the gains as bond prices fell, sending yields higher. Bank of America rose 2.4%. Higher yields allow banks to charge more lucrative interest rates on mortgages and other loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped to 1.89% from 1.79% late Wednesday. It’s an unusually large rise and signals more confidence in economic growth.
Technology companies also made strong gains. The sector is one of the most sensitive to swings in trade because many of the companies rely on China for sales and supply chains. Cisco rose 2.6%.
Real estate companies and utilities lagged the market in another sign that investors were shifting money away from safe-play investments.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.5% as of noon Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 123 points, or 0.4%, to 28,034. The Nasdaq rose 0.3%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.5%.
TAKEOFF: Delta Air Lines rose 3.3% after the most profitable U.S. carrier gave investors a surprisingly good profit and revenue forecast for 2020. The company said it expects sustained demand for air travel and stable prices for jet fuel.
SPREADING LUV: Southwest Airlines 1.6% after it reached a deal with Boeing for compensation over the grounding of the 737 Max aircraft.
CASH REGISTERS RINGING? Friday’s retail sales report from the Commerce Department will offer investors a solid measure of the economy’s health in a week dominated by uncertainties over trade. Economists expect retail sales to rise in November. The measure gives more insight into consumer spending, which has been among the brighter spots in the economy helping to push growth.
Damian J. Troise, The Associated Press