Stocks Move Broadly Higher as Turbulent Week Nears End

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Stocks rose broadly in midday trading on Wall Street Friday, as investors look to end a turbulent week on a positive note.

The S&P 500 rose 1.3% as of 11:40 a.m. Eastern time, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also gained ground. But both indexes are still headed for a third straight weekly decline after steep losses earlier in the week, including an 800-point drop in the Dow.

Technology stocks led the market higher, in a sign that investors regained some appetite for riskier holdings. Microsoft rose 1.6% and Apple rose 2.2%. Nvidia surged 5.7% on solid earnings.

Health-care and industrial stocks also gained ground. Investors brushed off a weak forecast from agricultural-equipment maker Deere, which gained 4.1%.

Utilities, which have been one of the safer havens for investors this month, lagged the market.

The market’s swings have been largely driven by two factors: developments in the U.S.-China trade dispute and investors jumping into bonds as they seek a safe place to park money amid growing concerns about the global economy.

Investors have been mostly defensive throughout August following President Donald Trump’s escalation of his trade war with China. He threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this month, which prompted China to allow its currency to weaken against the dollar in retaliation.

The government has since said it will delay the implementation of more than half of those new tariffs, but increased trade tensions were enough to dash hopes that a resolution would be found anytime soon. Investors are now digging in for an even more protracted trade war.

Long-term bond yields edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.56% from 1.52% late Thursday. That helped lift banks because higher bond yields tend to push interest rates on loans higher, which means more profits for banks. JPMorgan Chase rose 2.3% and Bank of America rose 2.7%.

The bounce for yields follows a week-long slide that included a sharp drop on Wednesday that rang yet another alarm bell for the economy. The 10-year yield dropped below the yield on the two-year Treasury, a rare occurrence and one that has historically suggested a recession may be a year or two away.

Investors are hoping that the Federal Reserve will continue to cut interest rates in order to shore up economic growth. The central bank lowered interest rates by a quarter-point at its last meeting. It was the first time it had lowered rates in a decade.

The Dow rose 275 points, or 1.1%, to 25,854, and the Nasdaq rose 1.5%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller stocks jumped 1.88%.

The early gains trimmed some of the week’s losses, but the S&P 500 is still poised to shed 1.1% for the week and is on track to lose 3.2% for August. That would mark the second monthly loss for the broad index this year, following a drop in May, in what has generally been a good year. The S&P 500 is still up 15% in 2019.

The Nasdaq is in a similar situation. It is poised to lose 3.6% for August, but is still up 18.8% for the year.

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