Wall Street rebounds as tariff delay prompts rally

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street rose on Tuesday after the Trump administration announced a delay on select Chinese import tariffs, bringing buyers back to the equities market in a broad-based rally.

Tech shares, led by Apple Inc (AAPL.O), pulled all three major U.S. indexes higher on the news, easing fears over the contentious U.S.-China trade war and growing signs of imminent recession.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the United States would hold off on implementing additional 10% tariffs on key Chinese goods, including laptops and cell phones, tariffs that were originally set to go into effect next month.

“The bargain hunters stepped in after that announcement,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist, senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

But Pavlik warned against too much optimism.

“You really don’t know where any of this is headed, Pavlik added. “If these (trade) talks don’t show some progress, people are worried what it may bring: rising costs and a global slowdown.”

“It’s very reminiscent of when we were in Vietnam and the U.S. was in talks about ending the war and you’d get periods of high hopes followed by crushing blows.”

Apple, a likely beneficiary of the tariff delay, rose 4.5%, while the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index .SOX gained 2.8%.

Wall Street rebounds as tariff delay prompts rally
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 13, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

In economic news, U.S. consumer prices USCPFY=ECI accelerated in July, with core CPI, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, growing at 2.2% year-on-year, its largest gain in six months and well above the U.S. Federal Reserve’s 2% target.

The healthy inflation reading is unlikely to change market expectations for an additional interest rate cut from the Fed next month as it grapples with the trade war between the world’s two largest economies and its economic fallout.

U.S. Treasury yields rose as market participants’ risk appetite improved in the wake of Monday’s bond market rally, sending the financial sector .SPSY 1.6% higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 395.48 points, or 1.53%, to 26,302.85, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 45.75 points, or 1.59%, to 2,928.84 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 154.46 points, or 1.96%, to 8,017.87.

All of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 were trading in the black, with technology .SPLRCT, communications services .SPLRCL and consumer discretionary .SPLRCD seeing the biggest percentage gains.

Shares of CBS Corp (CBS.N) and Viacom Inc (VIAB.O) were both up 2.7% after sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the media companies had reached an agreement in principle regarding their impending merger.

Second-quarter earnings season has reached the final stretch, with 453 of the companies in the S&P 500 having posted results. Of those, 73.3% have come in above consensus estimates, according to Refinitiv data.

Analysts see S&P 500 second-quarter earnings growth of 2.9% year-on-year, significantly higher than the paltry 0.3% growth expected on July 1, per Refinitiv.

Wall Street rebounds as tariff delay prompts rally
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Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.77-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.22-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 24 new 52-week highs and 18 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 51 new highs and 112 new lows.

Reporting by Stephen Culp; Editing by Lisa Shumaker