(AP) — Stocks closed broadly higher Thursday on Wall Street for the second straight day as the U.S. and China kicked off a new round of negotiations in their long-running trade war.
Technology companies and banks led the rally as investors became hopeful that the 13th round of trade talks will bring both sides closer to ending the costly conflict between the world’s two biggest economies.
Traders were encouraged after President Trump said he would meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is leading Beijing’s negotiating team, at the White House on Friday. Trump also said China wants to make a deal.
“It’s really good that Trump is meeting him, because that increases the odds that some type of positive news may happen tomorrow,” said Brad Bernstein, senior portfolio manager at UBS Global Wealth Management.
The S&P 500 rose 18.73 points, or 0.6%, to 2,938.13. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 150.66 points, or 0.6%, to 26,496.67. The Nasdaq composite added 47.04 points, or 0.6%, to 7,950.78. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 5.90 points, or 0.4%, to 1,485.36.
Major indexes in Europe closed higher. Asian markets finished mixed.
Thursday’s rally extended the S&P 500’s gains from the day before, though the index remains on track for its fourth straight weekly loss.
Markets have been jittery this week as investors assessed the potential for a breakthrough in the trade talks even as tensions escalated between Washington and Beijing. The U.S. blacklisted a group of Chinese technology companies over alleged human rights violations earlier this week. Meanwhile, China has clashed with the NBA and U.S. companies over free-speech issues.
The trade war has dragged on for 15 months, inflicting economic damage on both countries and raising fears of a global recession.
The Trump administration has slapped tariffs on more than $360 billion worth of Chinese imports. Tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods are set to increase to 30% from 25% on Oct. 15, and new tariffs will kick in on another $160 billion on Dec. 15. That would extend import taxes to virtually everything China ships to the U.S. China has hit back by targeting about $120 billion in U.S. goods, focusing on farm products.
While representatives of both countries have failed to make progress in resolving the trade conflict, there is more pressure this time for them to reach some type of agreement, even if it’s merely to keep additional tariffs from kicking in, Bernstein said.
“The stakes are higher now than they’ve been in most, if not all, of the recent negotiations, because there are tariffs that are scheduled to increase in five days on China, which will directly impact you and me, and the economy and the world,” he said.
Thursday’s gains helped the S&P 500 cut its losses after a volatile week of trading. The index is now down 0.5% for the week. On Wednesday it had been on track for a 1.1% weekly loss.
Despite also recovering some lost ground, the Dow and Nasdaq are still on track to finish the week in the red.
Tech stocks helped lift the market Thursday. The sector is particularly sensitive to any news coming out of trade negotiations because many of the companies rely on China for sales growth and supply chains. Apple gained 1.3%. Chipmakers also rose. Intel added 1.2%, and Nvidia picked up 1.3%.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose Thursday to 1.67% from 1.58% late Wednesday, and several big banks had solid gains, including Bank of America, which climbed 2%.
Energy companies got a boost from a 1.8% increase in crude oil prices. Chevron rose 1.3%.
Benchmark crude oil rose 96 cents to settle at $53.55 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 78 cents to close at $59.10 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.62 per gallon. Heating oil was unchanged at $1.92 per gallon. Natural gas fell 1 cent to $2.22 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold fell $11.30 on Thursday to $1.494.80 per ounce, silver fell 21 cents to $17.52 per ounce, and copper rose 5 cents to $2.61 per pound.