Wall Street gains as trade worries subside

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Monday on signs of easing trade tensions between the United States and China after President Donald Trump softened his stance on Chinese technology company ZTE Corp.

FILE PHOTO: Traders and guests gather for the IPO of PermRock Royalty Trust on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 2, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Trump on Sunday pledged to help ZTE (000063.SZ) “get back into business, fast” nearly a month after the United States banned American companies from selling to the firm for violating an agreement.

Trump’s comments came ahead of trade talks between the two countries this week as they look to resolve the escalating trade dispute.

“At the moment, the market is breathing a sigh of relief that some of the fears over tariffs and inflation, in particular, have not been realized,” said Mike Baele, managing director at U.S. Bank Private Client Wealth Management in Portland, Oregon.

“We are still not out of the woods, but it hasn’t escalated. The market is seeing it as a positive.”

Shares of some of the biggest suppliers to ZTE, including Acacia Communications (ACIA.O), Oclaro (OCLR.O) and Lumentum Holdings, rose between 10.6 percent and 3.1 percent.

Chip stocks got a boost from news that China had resumed its review of chipmaker Qualcomm’s (QCOM.O) proposed $44 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI.O). NXP surged 14.2 percent and Qualcomm 3 percent.

The Philadelphia semiconductor index .SOX was up 1.6 percent.

At 12:53 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 102.65 points, or 0.41 percent, at 24,933.82, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.79 points, or 0.21 percent, at 2,733.51 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 28.55 points, or 0.39 percent, at 7,431.43.

The defensive utilities .SPLRCU, telecoms .SPLRCL and real estate .SPLRCR were the only three losers among the major S&P sectors, while technology .SPLRCT and healthcare .SPXHC indexes were the biggest boosts.

Energy stocks .SPNY were the biggest percentage gainers, rising 0.8 percent as oil rose after OPEC reported that the global oil glut has been virtually eliminated. [O/R]

“There is renewed vigor in the energy sector around the belief that maybe oil prices can stay up this time. That’s something new that the markets had not been playing,” said John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington Bank in Columbus, Ohio.

Xerox (XRX.N) tumbled 5.7 percent after the U.S. photocopier maker scrapped a planned $6.1 billion deal with Fujifilm Holdings (4901.T).

Viacom Inc (VIAB.O) declined 6.7 percent after CBS Corp (CBS.N) filed a lawsuit to stop controlling shareholder Shari Redstone from continuing with her plan to merge it with Viacom. CBS rose 3.2 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.19-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.04-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 24 new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 106 new highs and 27 new lows.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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