Stocks Move Higher as Investors Head to 3Q Finish Line

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks moved broadly higher in early trading Monday as investors moved closer to wrapping up a highly volatile quarter in which the market was buffeted by swings in the U.S.-China trade war.

Technology stocks led the early gains. Apple rose 1.3%. Product and chipmakers have been among the most sensitive to developments in the trade dispute. Many of the companies in that sector rely on China for sales or parts.

Merck rose 2.6% and did much of the heavy lifting for health care stocks. Medical device maker Abbott Laboratories rose 2.3%.

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Makers of consumer products and consumer-oriented companies also made broad gains.

Banks wobbled between small gains and losses while energy companies slid along with declining oil prices. Marathon Petroleum fell 1.2% and Occidental fell 1.3%.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.69% from 1.67% late Friday.

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Trade tensions seemed to ease a bit. China said its top trade negotiator will lead a 13th round of talks aimed at resolving the trade war with the U.S. The negotiations are expected to take place after Oct. 7.

The reassuring news follows a report Friday that the U.S. might seek to escalate the feud again by considering ways to limit U.S. investments in China. The Treasury Department, though, said there weren’t currently plans to block Chinese companies from listing shares on U.S. stock exchanges.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 93 points, or 0.4%, to 26,914. The Nasdaq rose 0.4%.

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OVERSEAS: Stocks in Europe moved broadly higher. Unemployment in the 19 countries that use the euro fell in August to its lowest rate since May 2008, according to the European Union’s statistics agency. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, separately reported a drop in its unemployment rate.

Asian markets were mixed. Chinese manufacturing improved in September, even as demand for Chinese goods has been hurt by slower economic growth and the trade feud with the U.S.

CHOPPY QUARTER: The trade war put a damper on the market again during the third quarter. The U.S. and China again escalated their trade war in August, blunting gains for every major U.S. index. Stocks started climbing again in September as both sides made conciliatory moves to ease tensions ahead of another round of planned talks in October.

The S&P 500 and the Dow are both on track for quarterly gains of about 1%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq never fully recovered from the August hit and is on track to notch a 0.4% decline, which would be its first quarterly loss of the year.

Small companies bore the brunt of the trade war damage during the quarter. The Russell 2000 is on track for a 2.8% loss.

HOME STRETCH AHEAD: Investors are heading into the final quarter of 2019 with the trade war hanging over the market and corporate financial results on the way in mid-October.

The next round of trade negotiations could be the key to heading off another round of destructive tariffs in December. Both sides have postponed some of the more worrisome tariff increases, which would more directly raise prices on consumer goods and potentially crimp consumer spending.

Investors will soon get a better glimpse of the trade war’s impact with the next round of corporate financial results later this month. Analysts are forecasting that profits will contract by more than 3%, according to FactSet.


By AP reporter Damian J. Troise

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