Wall Street advanced on Thursday after a report that the Trump administration was considering lifting tariffs on Chinese imports in a bid to calm markets and ease tensions with Beijing.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average erased an earlier loss to rise 163 points, or 0.7%, to 24,370 in choppy trade. The S&P 500 index added 20 points, or 0.8%, to 2,636 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 50 points, or 0.7%, to finish at 7,084.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports and suggested offering a tariff rollback during trade discussions scheduled for 30 January, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing sources.
Aside from trade, investors focused on banking industry performance after Morgan Stanley announced earnings and revenue that fell short of analyst expectations. Shares of Morgan Stanley fell 4.4% following the release of quarterly results. The S&P 500 financial index rebounded to trade 0.5% higher after having dropped as much as 1%
Industrial stocks, which have been sensitive to trade developments, surged 1.4% after the report. Shares of defense contractors Northrop Grumman Corp and Lockheed Martin Corp added after President Donald Trump unveiled a revamped US missile defense strategy.
Apple Inc, which had previously warned of weaker sales in China, rose 0.5%.
Shares of Netflix Inc, which is scheduled to report quarterly results after the bell, rose 0.3%. The video-streaming company raised US subscription rates this week.
Signet Jewelers Ltd. dropped 25% after the retailer cut guidance for its fourth quarter and fiscal 2019 and said its holiday performance fell short of expectations.
Amazon.com Inc. added 0.6% after Consumer Intelligence Research Partners Inc. said that Amazon Prime membership has reached 101 million members.
Shares of PPP Industries Inc. gained 4.7% after the company issued a downbeat outlook. Blue Apron Holdings Inc. shares skidded 11% after the meal-kit company was included in a list of 10 potential bankruptcies in 2019 by Investor Place.
In Asia, share markets were all higher on Friday in morning session after the report that American officials may be weighing the possibility of easing tariffs on China.
The Shanghai composite index rose by more than 1% in early trade. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also traded higher by about 1.2%.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 added 1.24% in morning trade while the Topix index rose 1.1%. South Korea’s Kospi was up 0.6%. Australia’s benchmark ASX 200 notched up nearly 0.6%.