Stocks Rise on Trade Talk Optimism; Tech Stocks Gain

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks moved higher in early trading Tuesday following confirmation that U.S. and China officials will meet in two weeks to negotiate on trade, although a tepid reading on U.S. consumer confidence eroded some of the gains.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said late Monday that talks aimed at ending the standoff on trade were set to resume the week of Oct. 7. Both sides have pulled back somewhat recently from a series of escalating tariffs and other measures. Still, investors are cautious, considering that previous negotiations have failed to produce a deal.

At 10 a.m. the Conference Board said its consumer confidence index fell to 125.1 in September from a revised August reading of 134.2. Stocks pulled back a bit after the report.

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Investors snapped up technology stocks as they shifted to a more confident stance after several days of cautious trading. Apple rose 1.4% and Microsoft rose 1%. The sector is particularly sensitive to trade war developments and rhetoric as many companies rely on China for sales and supply chains.

Consumer-related and industrial stocks were also among the biggest gainers. Home Depot and Lowe’s both notched solid gains following a report that showed home prices rose in July. Railroads, including Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern, also rose.

Energy stocks lagged the market as the price of oil dipped. Schlumberger fell 1.2% and Halliburton fell 2.7%.

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Bonds rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.68%.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.2% as of 10:20 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 51 points, or 0.2%, to 27,000. The Nasdaq rose 0.1%.

OVERSEAS: Stocks in Asia edged higher. China’s central bank governor said policy will stay “stable and healthy,”suggesting there are no plans to cut interest rates to help stimulate economic growth.

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European stocks were mixed. A slowdown in economic growth and Britain’s planned Oct. 31 exit from the European Union continue weighing on investors. The Ifo institute’s latest report shows that German business confidence has picked up slightly after a five-month decline, but managers are more pessimistic about their outlook for the next half-year.

BUSTED TIRE: AutoZone fell 2.1% after the auto parts retailer’s fiscal fourth quarter sales fell shy of Wall Street forecasts.


By AP reporter Damian J. Troise


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