Tech, Banks Lead US Stocks Sharply Higher; Oil Heads Lower

Trader Sal Suarino works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, March 26, 2018. Stocks are surging in early trading on Wall Street as the market makes up some of its huge losses from last week. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Rally early boosts Wall Street

U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in morning trading Monday despite losing some momentum after a strong rally earlier in the day. Technology and financial stocks, which took some of the biggest losses last week, accounted for much of the market’s gains. Investors drew encouragement from signs that the U.S. and China are open to negotiating to avert a potential trade dispute. Crude oil prices were headed lower.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,609 as of 11:28 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 270 points, or 1.2 percent, to 23,803. The average, which lost more than 1,400 points last week, had been up more than 500 points. The Nasdaq added 55 points, or 0.8 percent, to 7,047. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 12 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,522.

TARIFFS AND TRADE: Last week, global stock markets fell sharply amid fears of a trade war after President Donald Trump announced duties on $60 billion worth of Chinese goods in a dispute over technology policy. On Friday, Beijing released a $3 billion list of U.S. goods targeted for possible retaliation over an earlier U.S. tariff hike on steel and aluminum imports. That prompted fears the spat might depress trade worldwide and set back the global economic recovery.

POTENTIAL COMPROMISE: China’s government said it is open to negotiating with Washington following a news report indicating that U.S. officials have submitted a list of market-opening requests. A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, didn’t confirm the report by The Wall Street Journal but said at a regular briefing, “Our door for dialogue and discussion is always open.” The Journal said U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and China’s economic czar, Vice Premier Liu He, were leading negotiations. It said American market-opening requests as a possible condition of a settlement covered the auto, finance and semiconductor industries.

TECH RALLY: Technology companies recouped some of the sectors lefty losses last week. Microsoft rose $4.72, or 5.4 percent, to $91.90.

BETTING ON BANKS: Financial stocks surged as bond yields rose. Higher yields are good for banks, because they drive up interest rates on mortgages and other loans, making them more profitable for lenders. Bank of America added 77 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $29.95.

ON THE WAY OUT: Lowe’s climbed 5.7 percent after the home-improvement retailer said Chairman and CEO Robert Niblock is retiring. The stock gained $4.76 to $88.53.

SPORTY DEAL: Finish Line vaulted 29.9 percent after the sporting goods retailer agreed to be bought by JD Sports Fashion PLC. Shares in Finish Line climbed $3.15 to $13.70.

NO, THANKS: USG Corp. jumped 17.7 percent after the building products company rejected an offer worth $42 per share from Knauf. USG picked up $5.92 to $39.43.

SOCIAL ANXIETY: Shares in Facebook continued to slide as the social media giant faces new questions about collecting phone numbers and text messages from Android devices. The Federal Trade Commission confirmed Friday that it is investigating Facebook’s privacy practices, including whether the company engaged in “unfair acts” that cause “substantial injury” to consumers. The stock, which already took a big hit last week, was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500 Monday, tumbling $9.10, or 5.7 percent, to $150.29.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.82 percent from 2.81 percent late Friday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 38 cents to $65.50 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 37 cents to $69.44 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 105.02 yen from 104.82 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.2437 from $1.2367.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX fell 0.7 percent, while France’s CAC-40 lost 0.5 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 shed 0.3 percent. In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent. Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.8 percent. India’s Sensex rose 0.3 percent.


By Alex Viega of the Associated Press