Stocks Post 4th Straight Gain As Hopes Build on China Trade


Stocks cinched their fourth consecutive gain Wednesday as indexes around the world build on their early 2019 rally. The gains for U.S. indexes faded slightly after President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders said Mr. Trump cut short a meeting on ending the partial shutdown of the federal government.

The last four-day winning streak for the S&P 500 ended in mid-September. The index, the benchmark for many mutual funds, retirement plans and investment professionals, has climbed 9.9 percent since Dec. 24.

Negotiators from the U.S. and China extended their trade talks to a third day, which investors took as a sign the trade discussions were productive even though the two sides didn’t announce any breakthroughs. Stocks linked to faster economic growth, such as technology and energy companies, kept rising.

Oil prices rose for the ninth day out of 10, bringing U.S. crude back above $50 a barrel for the first time in almost a month. European stocks made solid gains and Asian indexes jumped.

The S&P 500 index climbed 10.55 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,584.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 91.67 points, or 0.4 percent, to 23,879.12. The Nasdaq composite rose 60.08 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,957.08. The Russell 2000 index of smaller and U.S.-focused stocks added 12.25 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,438.81.

Chipmaker Micron Technology surged 5.6 percent to $35.93 and competitor Broadcom climbed 3.7 percent to $244.77. Many chip companies have manufacturing operations in China and make big chunks of their sales there. Traders felt that made them especially vulnerable in the U.S.-China spat. They were also concerned about an abrupt slowdown in the global economy and the possibility that supplies were too large.

Oil prices hit their highest in almost a month after rising for the ninth day in the last 10. U.S. crude rose 5.2 percent to $52.36 a barrel in New York. It’s jumped 15 percent so far in 2019. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 4.6 percent to $61.44 a barrel in London.

Lennar jumped 7.9 percent to $46.29 and other homebuilders also rose after CEO Stuart Miller said more potential buyers have been coming to Lennar’s model homes recently as mortgage rates dipped.

Homebuilder stocks took huge losses in 2018 as high prices and increasing mortgage rates hurt sales.

Bond prices recouped an early loss and wound up little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.71 percent.

With investors becoming a bit more optimistic about trade and economic growth, high-dividend stocks including utilities and food, drink and household goods makers fell. Beer and wine maker Constellation Brands slumped after it cut its annual profit forecast. The stock slumped 12.4 percent to $150.894.

In other commodities trading, wholesale gasoline rose 4.6 percent to $1.43 a gallon and heating oil added 2.9 percent to $1.88 a gallon. Natural gas edged up 0.6 percent to $2.98 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose 0.5 percent to $1,292 an ounce. Silver inched up 0.1 percent to $15.74 an ounce and copper was unchanged at $2.66 a pound.

The dollar slipped to 108.28 yen from 108.65 yen. The euro climbed to $1.1544 from $1.1443.

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