Stocks initially rallied after The Wall Street Journal reported that China’s government could make changes to its “Made in China 2025” economic development plan. That could be one step toward easing dispute between the world’s two largest economies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged as much as 458 points in morning trading, but later gave back much of that gain.
After taking steep losses at the end of last week, stocks have gyrated this week: On Monday they rallied to erase a big early loss, while on Tuesday a big morning gain turned into a small decline.
On Wednesday, most of the day’s gains evaporated in the afternoon. The hour-to-hour changes reflect investors’ nervousness about the health of the global economy: Economic growth is expected to slow in 2019 and the U.S.-China trade dispute and rising interest rates could both make that slowdown more painful.
The S&P 500 index rose 14.29 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,651.07. The Dow gained 157.03 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,527.27. The Nasdaq composite jumped 66.48 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,098.31. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 15.19 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,455.32.
Among technology companies, chipmaker Broadcom gained 3.3 percent to $254.98. Amazon gained 1.2 percent to $1,663.54 to lead retailers, and Netflix jumped 3.6 percent to $274.88 as internet and media companies joined in the gains.
Among industrials, machinery maker Caterpillar climbed 1.7 percent to $125.37 and equipment rental company United Rentals surged 6.3 percent to $108.30 after it gave strong forecasts for 2019 and said it will start buying back stock this month.
British legislators forced a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May, threatening an end to her tenure. She won the vote, which was revealed after the close of U.S. trading. The uncertainty has knocked the British pound sharply lower in recent days, but it rose Wednesday to $1.2634 from $1.2527. The FTSE 100 stock index added 1.1 percent.
Deutsche Bank jumped after Bloomberg News reported that the German government might take steps to make it easier for the struggling bank to combine with competitor Commerzbank. U.S.-traded shares of Deutsche Bank gained 8.4 percent to $9.03, but they’re still down 52.5 percent this year and have fallen almost 80 percent over the past five years as the company reels from weak results and investments in Greek and Italian bonds that went bad.
Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.91 percent from 2.88 percent.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 1 percent to $52.15 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 0.1 percent to $60.15 per barrel in London.
Wholesale gasoline dipped 1.3 percent to $1.42 a gallon and heating oil was unchanged at $1.85 a gallon.
The dollar dipped to 113.22 yen from 113.40 yen. The euro rose to $1.1367 from $1.1325.
The price of gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,250 an ounce, silver rose 1.5 percent to $14.85 an ounce and copper edged up 0.1 percent to $2.77 a pound.