Wall St. higher on U.S.-China trade talk optimism

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index opened higher on Monday as reports of planned trade talks between the United States and China raised hopes of a potential resolution to their trade spat.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 17, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Lower-level trade talks will be held on Aug. 22 and 23, according to the Wall Street Journal, just as new U.S. tariffs on $16 billion of Chinese goods take effect, along with Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs on an equal amount of U.S. goods.

Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with the materials .SPLRCM and industrial .SPLRCI sectors leading the pack. The utilities index .SPLRCU was the only laggard.

Shares of Boeing (BA.N) rose 0.9 percent and Caterpillar (CAT.N) 0.4 percent.

“Low-level trade talks are coming across to the market as China expressing willingness to come to some type of terms with the United States to resolve this trade issue,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC, New York.

At 9:52 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 90.30 points, or 0.35 percent, at 25,759.62, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 4.63 points, or 0.16 percent, at 2,854.76 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 5.78 points, or 0.07 percent, at 7,810.56.

Nike (NKE.N) rose 1.8 percent and was the top gainer on the Dow, after two brokerages raised their ratings on the stock.

Intel’s shares (INTC.O) dropped 1.2 percent, the most on the Dow, as Cowen & Co said the U.S. chipmaker’s new security bugs were potentially a big deal for public clouds.

Tesla (TSLA.O) dropped 3 percent after Reuters reported that PIF, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund that Chief Executive Elon Musk has said could help fund a go-private deal, is in talks to invest in aspiring rival Lucid Motors Inc.

JPMorgan cuts its price target on Tesla stock, saying any deal to take the electric car company private appeared much less developed than it had earlier presumed.

SodaStream’s U.S.-listed shares (SODA.O) leaped 9.6 percent after PepsiCo (PEP.O) said it would buy the Israel-based household drink-machine maker for $3.2 billion. PepsiCo’s shares rose 0.6.

News Corp (NWSA.O) shares fell 4.2 percent, the most among the S&P 500 components, after Morgan Stanley downgraded shares of the Wall Street Journal owner.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.82-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.65-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 70 new highs and 20 new lows.

Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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