Tuesday 22 January 2019

Tech stocks drive Wall St higher as US-China trade-war talks begin

Wilbur Ross
Wilbur Ross

Sruthi Shankar

US stocks rose yesterday as gains in the technology and consumer discretionary sectors helped extend Friday's rally, with investors focused on the ongoing US-China trade talks.

The rally was led by momentum names such as Amazon, Netflix and big technology stocks, adding to Friday's surge of over 3pc after strong jobs numbers and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's comments soothed worries about interest-rate hikes.

Fears of a global slowdown have caused sharp pullbacks in the markets over the last few months. But since hitting a 20-month low on Christmas Eve, just a rounding error from levels considered to be a bear market, the S&P 500 has now gained more than 8.5 pc.

The trade spat has been a major overhang and the effects of tariffs on billions of dollars of goods have started showing up in economic data and a reduction in analysts' estimates for earnings growth rates at S&P 500 companies.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said yesterday that China and the US were likely to reach a good settlement over immediate trade issues, while an agreement on structural trade issues and enforcement will be harder.

"We're looking at commentary from the Fed suggesting they're going to be flexible around rate hikes, there's positive commentary on the US trade war," said Christopher Anselmo, director at Nasdaq IR Intelligence.

"That positive sentiment is forward-looking."

The consumer discretionary index jumped 2.49pc, while the technology sector gained 1.14pc.

Reuters

Irish Independent

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