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Thursday, October 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stocks rise on optimism ahead of US-China trade deal

The New York Stock Exchange in New York. (Frank Franklin II / AP)
The New York Stock Exchange in New York. (Frank Franklin II / AP)
By Alex Veiga Associated Press

Technology companies led stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Monday afternoon as investors looked ahead to the signing of an initial trade deal with China and the potential for future talks.

The world’s largest economies are expected to sign the “Phase 1” trade agreement on Wednesday. It is being viewed as an opening to future negotiations that will deal with more complicated trade issues. Wall Street is also looking ahead to a busy opening week of corporate earnings being kicked off by major banks.

Chipmakers were among the gainers in the technology sector. Nivida climbed 2.9% and Micron Technology rose 0.7%. The sector is particularly sensitive to developments in trade relations because many of the companies rely on China for sales and supply chains. Apple also rose, adding 1%.

Industrial and communication services companies also made solid gains. General Electric rose 3% and Facebook added 1.6%.

Electric car maker Tesla jumped 8.7% and was on track to close above $500 for the first time.

Health care stocks slumped, with insurance companies among the sector’s biggest decliners. Cigna fell 3%, UnitedHealth Group slid 2.2% and Anthem dropped 2.4%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.85% from 1.82% late Friday, in another sign that investors are heading into the week with confidence. The pickup in yields helped lift financial stocks, as it make it possible for banks to charge higher interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans. Goldman Sachs Group rose 1.6% and Citizens Financial Group gained 1%.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was up 0.5% as of 1:21 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 57 points, or 0.2%, to 28,881. The Nasdaq rose 0.9%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gained 0.5%.

STRONG DEFENSE: Hexcel rose 8.2% after the company said it is being bought by rival Woodward in a deal that will create one of the largest suppliers in the aerospace and defense industry. Woodward rose 3.6% and will own the majority of the combined company when the deal closes.

TAKE A BOW: Netflix climbed 3.3% as the streaming video service earned two best picture nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards. Both Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” are contenders. The streaming video service has been pushing further into production of its own movies and original programming as competition heats up with other services, including Amazon and Hulu, along with traditional players such as HBO.

EARNINGS AHEAD: Wall Street expects corporate profits to slide by 2% during the fourth quarter, which would mark the first time earnings for the S&P 500 would fall four quarters in a row since the period ending in mid-2016, according to FactSet. Companies typically outperform forecasts and temper expectations for sharp declines by the time the bulk of financial reporting is done.

Banks will be the first major companies to give investors a clearer profit picture for the final quarter of 2019. JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup will report fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday and Bank of America will follow on Wednesday.

Delta Air Lines will be the first major airline to report financial results on Tuesday. The nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, will report earnings on Wednesday and railroad operator CSX will report on Thursday.

ECONOMY IN FOCUS: Wall Street will also have several economic reports to consider this week. The government will release its December reports on consumer prices and wholesale prices on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

The government will also release December reports for retails sales and home construction activity this week.

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