Dow Surges 326 Points on Hopes For U.S.-China Trade Talks

NEW YORK (AP) -

Stocks finished with broad gains on Wall Street Thursday, driving the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than 300 points higher.

The buying spree gave the market its second straight gain after a wobbly start to the week. The S&P 500 is now on track for its first weekly gain in five weeks.

The rally was spurred by fresh hope among investors that new talks between the U.S. and China set for September can lead to progress in the nations’ trade war.

The S&P 500 rose 36.64 points, or 1.3%, to 2,924.58. The Dow climbed 326.15 points, or 1.3%, to 26,362.25. The Nasdaq gained 116.51 points, or 1.5%, to 7,973.39.

Investors favored smaller company stocks for the second straight day. The Russell 2000 index added 24.01 points, or 1.6%, to 1,496.72.

Major stock indexes in Europe also closed broadly higher.

Thursday brought some tendrils of optimism for traders. A published report noted that China’s commerce ministry said it is discussing the next round of in-person trade negotiations with the U.S. to be held next month.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said talks with China are ongoing and are expected to continue in Washington, though he did not specify when.

Trade negotiators are due to meet in September for new negotiations, though there has been no sign of progress in recent days since an escalation by both sides earlier this month.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.50% from 1.47% late Wednesday. The 2-year Treasury yield rose to 1.53% from 1.49% the day before. The yield for the 10-year Treasury has been flat or below that of the 2-year this week.

A mixed batch of new economic data didn’t dampen Thursday’s market rally.

The government reported that gross domestic product, the broadest gauge of economic health, advanced at a moderate 2% annual rate in the April-June quarter, down from a 3.1% gain in the first quarter. The figure was lower than the government’s initial estimate a month ago of 2.1% growth.

Technology companies accounted for a big slice of Thursday’s gains. Microsoft rose 1.9% and Apple added 1.7%. Financial, industrials and communication services stocks also were big winners. JPMorgan climbed 2.3%, American Airlines Group gained 3.9% and Facebook rose 2.1%.

Dollar General led all stocks in the S&P 500 after the discount retailer reported quarterly results that were better than analysts were expecting. Its shares vaulted 10.7%. Rival Dollar Tree gave up an early gain, sliding 1.9%.

Walmart gained 1.2%, Nordstrom rose 2.8% and Amazon added 1.3%.

Crude oil rose 93 cents to settle at $56.71 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 59 cents to close at $61.08 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.68 per gallon. Heating oil climbed 1 cent to $1.86 per gallon. Natural gas rose 5 cents to $2.30 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $12.30 to $1,526.50 per ounce, silver dropped 15 cents to $18.17 per ounce and copper added 1 cent to $2.56 per pound.

The dollar rose to 106.62 Japanese yen from 106.03 yen on Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.1052 from $1.1079.