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Stocks Climb on Trade Optimism

By Anna Isaac and Karen Langley 

U.S. stocks rose Wednesday as investors awaited the resumption of U.S.-China trade talks and looked for fresh signals from the Federal Reserve on monetary easing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7% and the S&P 500 climbed 0.9%. The gains were broad, with all 11 sectors of the S&P rising, led by technology stocks.

Tensions between the U.S. and China appeared to ratchet up this week as the U.S. imposed export restrictions on more than two dozen Chinese firms and put visa restrictions on Chinese officials. But market observers Wednesday pointed to optimism on the trade front as Bloomberg reported that China was open to reaching a partial deal.

"When there's a sense that we're going to get a positive outcome, you see equities rally," said Shawn Cruz, manager of trader strategy at TD Ameritrade. "When there's this sense they're not going to be able to get a deal struck or make progress, then you see equities sell off."

Investors have been closely listening to remarks from Federal Reserve officials for fresh signals about U.S. monetary policy. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Wednesday at an event in Kansas City that the U.S. economy faces some risks but is in a good place overall.

The U.S. central bank also released minutes from its September meeting, showing that officials worried slowing global growth and rising trade-policy uncertainty could exert a drag on hiring and the U.S. economy. The minutes didn't provide a firm sign about upcoming policy moves, but a subsequent run of weak factory data and other signs of a slowdown have fueled market expectations of another rate cut in October.

"What the Fed minutes discuss is likely to be stale information," said Jordan Rochester, foreign exchange strategist at Nomura Bank. "The data has deteriorated since they had their discussion. After the poor manufacturing figures more recently, they softened their tones."

Among individual companies, Johnson & Johnson shares dropped 2.5% after a Philadelphia jury ordered the company to pay $8 billion in damages to a man who said that using antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused enlarged breasts. U.S. Steel shares fell 8.3% after the company said it would cut costs and replace its chief financial officer with another company executive.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note inched up to 1.577%, from 1.532% Tuesday. Yields rise as prices fall.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.6% as data on machine-tool orders confirmed a bleak picture for the country's manufacturing sector. Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 0.8% amid tensions over protests in the city.

Write to Anna Isaac at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 09, 2019 14:32 ET (18:32 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.