Tech, banks lead US stocks sharply higher; Oil heads lower

Associated Press

Technology companies helped lift U.S. stocks sharply higher in afternoon trading today as the market made up some of its huge losses from last week.

Banks also notched solid gains, benefiting from a pickup in bond yields. Investors drew encouragement from signs the U.S. and China are open to negotiating to avert a potential trade dispute. Crude oil prices were headed lower.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 37 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,625 as of 1:04 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 423 points, or 1.8 percent, to 23,956. The average, which lost more than 1,400 points last week, had been up more than 500 points. The Nasdaq added 103 points, or 1.5 percent, to 7,096. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 9 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,519.

"All of the concerns about the potential trade wars and tariffs have been causing this market's weakness for the last couple of weeks," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab. "The important thing for today is to watch the action in the last hour. Lately, when we've had strong opens, we've had a weak close, and that usually doesn't bode well for the next day."

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.

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