Apple and Amazon propel Wall Street to three-week high

(Reuters) – The S&P 500 ascended to a three-week high on Tuesday, led by Apple, Amazon and a rally in industrials on bets that the United States and China would strike a deal to end a trade war.

The third straight session of gains, started last Friday after robust U.S. jobs data and dovish comments on interest rates by Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell, has lifted the S&P 500 .SPX by over 9 percent from 20-month lows hit around Christmas.

The United States and China will extend trade talks in Beijing for an unscheduled third day, a member of the U.S. delegation said, as the world’s two largest economies looked to resolve their bitter trade dispute. So far, officials from both sides have sounded optimistic, with President Donald Trump saying talks were going well.

“You’re seeing some negotiations happen and the market is starting to think that perhaps we’ll start to see a framework evolve,” said Anik Sen, global head of equities at PineBridge Investments.

The trade-sensitive S&P industrials sector .SPLRCI rose 1.25 percent. Boeing Co (BA.N) jumped 3.4 percent after reporting it had delivered a record 806 aircraft in 2018 and contributed most to the Dow’s rise.

Apple (AAPL.O) rose 2.2 percent, regaining some ground after the company last week warned of weaker-than-expected demand for its iPhone. But tech sector gains were limited by a drop in chip stocks after Samsung (005930.KS) blamed its profit drop on weak chip demand.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX slid 1.02 percent. Adding to the woes, Goldman Sachs forecast a tough year for chipmakers, particularly in the first half.

Other investors remained upbeat about upcoming U.S. quarterly results.

“It’s the new year and investors are really stepping back and taking a look at the fundamentals, and realizing its not as bad a story as maybe we thought toward the end of the year,” said Jeff Kravetz, a regional investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.

The communication services index .SPLRCL climbed 1.48 percent, with Facebook adding 2.89 percent.

Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) rose 1.7 percent, increasing its market capitalization to $811 billion and cementing its position as the most valuable U.S. company.

At 2:14 pm ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 1.1 percent at 23,789.22 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX had gained 0.84 percent to 2,571.04.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 0.98 percent to 6,890.63.

Financials .SPSY was the only S&P index to log losses, down 0.33 percent as the U.S. Treasury yield curve US2US10=TWEB flattened.

PG&E Corp (PCG.N) shares continued to decline, falling 9.7 percent after S&P Global Ratings stripped the California power utility of its investment-grade credit rating.

Union Pacific Corp (UNP.N) rose 8.4 percent after the No.1 U.S. railroad named industry veteran Jim Vena as chief operating officer.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.74-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.96-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 24 new highs and 14 new lows.

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