S&P 500 Snaps 4-Day Losing Streak in Broad Rally

NEW YORK (AP) -

Banks and health care companies led stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Thursday, ending a four-day losing streak for the benchmark S&P 500 index.

The gains after a mostly wobbly week of trading reflect cautious optimism on the part of investors ahead of a key trade meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China set for this weekend.

The trade war between the world’s two biggest economies remains the biggest source of uncertainty looming over Wall Street. Investors are worried the fallout from the tariffs imposed by both countries on each other’s goods could hurt global economic growth and corporate profits.

The S&P 500 index rose 11.14 points, or 0.4%, to 2,924.92. The index is up 6.3% for the month, with only one day left of trading in June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 10.24 points, or less than 0.1%, to 26,526.58. The Nasdaq composite gained 57.79, or 0.7%, to 7,967.76. Smaller company stocks did far better than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks climbed 28.78 points, or 1.9%, to 1,546.55.

Major indexes in Europe ended mixed.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.01% from 2.04% late Wednesday.

Despite worries over trade, investors have mostly pushed stocks higher this month as the Federal Reserve raised expectations that it is prepared to cut interest rates if needed to shield the economy should the damage from the costly trade conflict worsen.

Every major index is on track to register gains of more than 6% for the month, despite having declined roughly 1% so far this week.

Banks were the biggest gainers Thursday. Bank of America and Wells Fargo each rose 1.1%.

Health care stocks gained momentum throughout the day. AbbVie climbed 2.9%, one of the biggest gainers in the sector. The company is in the process of buying Botox maker Allergan for $63 billion. Other health care stocks also rose. CVS Health gained 1.9% and Humana picked up 1.2%.

Technology stocks also rose. Chipmakers, which have much to gain or lose from the result of the U.S.-China trade negotiations, were particularly strong. Micron Technology climbed 2.8% and Nvidia rose 2.5%.

Energy stocks lagged the broader market. ConocoPhillips slid 2.4%.

Boeing helped pull the Dow into the red after the airplane maker said a new software problem has been found in its troubled 737 Max aircraft.

A report showing that more Americans signed contracts to buy a home in May than in the previous month helped spur a broad rally in homebuilders. The data signal that would-be homebuyers may be ready to take advantage of low interest rates and stabilizing home prices. Builder New Home Co. led the pack, vaulting 11.1%.

Chef Boyardee and Peter Pan peanut butter maker Conagra Brands slumped 12.1%, the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, after its latest quarterly results fell short of Wall Street’s expectations.

In commodities trading, Benchmark crude oil rose 5 cents to settle at $59.43 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 6 cents to close at $66.55 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.95 per gallon. Heating oil declined 2 cents to $1.95 per gallon. Natural gas climbed 6 cents to $2.32 per 1,000 cubic feet.