Stocks reversed an early slide on Wall Street and finished broadly higher Wednesday, giving the market its second straight gain in a week of bumpy trading.
Big technology and communications companies, including Microsoft, Apple and Google parent Alphabet, led the rally as the market shrugged off an initial stumble. Banks took heavy losses following a sharp drop in bond yields.
Investors got in a buying mood after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave a Senate subcommittee a promising update on the Trump administration’s efforts to reach a trade deal with Canada and Mexico. Markets also got a boost from reports that the White House plans to delay new tariffs on car and auto parts imports from Europe by up to six months.
Addressing another contentious trade issue, Mnuchin also said he expects to soon travel to Beijing with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to resume negotiations on the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. President Donald Trump has said that he expects to meet Xi in late June at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
The S&P 500 index gained 16.55 points, or 0.6%, to 2,850.96. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 115.97 points, or 0.5%, to 25,648.02. The index had briefly fallen 190 points.
The Nasdaq, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, added 87.65 points, or 1.1%, to 7,822.15.
Small-company stocks lagged the market. The Russell 2000 index picked up 5.21 points, or 0.3%, to 1,548.27.
Major indexes in Europe closed higher.
Tensions between the world’s two biggest economies intensified over the last week. The Trump administration more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports and plans to target the $300 billion worth that aren’t already facing 25% taxes. The Chinese have retaliated by hiking tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. imports.
Major carmakers turned higher Wednesday following media reports that the U.S. is planning to delay new tariffs on car and auto part imports from Europe. The proposed tariffs would add another front to U.S. trade disputes and increase investors’ anxiety. Ford rose 1.2%, Fiat Chrysler added 1.5% and General Motors gained 0.9%.
Banks lagged the broader market as bond yields slumped. Bond prices rose sharply, sending yields lower, after some surprisingly disappointing economic data in the U.S. including weak figures on retail sales.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.37% from 2.42% late Tuesday, a large move.
That decline in yields hurts banks because it cuts into profit from interest on loans. Bank of America fell 1.2% and Citigroup slid 0.6%.
Energy futures finished mostly higher. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.4% to settle at $62.02 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, closed 0.7% higher at $71.77 per barrel.
Wholesale gasoline climbed 1.8% to $2.01 per gallon. Heating oil gained 1.3% to $2.09 per gallon. Natural gas fell 2.2% to $2.60 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold inched 0.1% higher to $1,297.80 per ounce, silver held steady at $14.81 per ounce and copper gained 0.7% to $2.74 per pound.
The dollar fell to 109.54 Japanese yen from 109.64 yen on Tuesday. The euro weakened to $1.1204 from $1.1207.