Wall Street chalked up its best day in 2-1/2 years and the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its third-largest point gain ever on Monday, as trade war fears eased on reports the United States and China are willing to renegotiate tariffs and trade imbalances.
The rally, fueled by technology stocks, came on the heels of the indexes’ worst weekly performance since January 2016, saw the S&P 500 gain result in a bit less than half of the prior week’s near 6 percent loss.
Last week’s drop was fueled in part by tensions surrounding Trump’s move to levy tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports, in addition to those imposed on solar panels, steel and aluminum. However, tensions were calmed as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang repeated pledges to maintain trade negotiations and ease access to American businesses.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on Sunday he believed Washington could reach agreement with China on some issues but tariffs would not be put on hold “unless we have an acceptable agreement that the president signs off on.”
At the same time, China called for unity among World Trade Organization members to prevent the United States from “wrecking” the WTO, and urged opposition to Trump’s tariffs targeting China’s alleged intellectual property theft.
The three major domestic equity indexes chalked up their best percentage gains since Aug. 26, 2015. All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 closed in positive territory, led by the technology and finance indexes, up 4.0 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.
The tech sector saw its largest daily percentage gain since August 2015 and financials had their best day since November 2016.
Microsoft pulled the indexes higher, gaining 7.6 percent. Morgan Stanley upped its price target on the tech company’s stock, saying its market value could hit $1 trillion on improved margins and growth in cloud computing.
Intel advanced 6.3 percent after Raymond James upgraded the company to “market perform”.
Facebook (closed up 0.4 percent following several days of declines as the Federal Trade Commission announced it was investigating how the company allowed data of 50 million users to get into the hands of Cambridge Analytica.
The Cboe Volatility Index finished down 3.84 points at 21.03.
Approximately 7.30 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, a number that was below the 7.35 billion share average during the past 20 trading days.