(Reuters) – U.S. stocks extended a rally from the prior session on Wednesday, powered by rising expectations that the United States and China could strike a deal during their ongoing trade talks, with benign inflation data also lifting sentiment.
“So far, so good,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said about the U.S.-China trade talks in Beijing, a day after President Donald Trump said he would be willing to let a March 1 deadline slide if the two sides were close to a deal.
Trade-sensitive industrials rose 0.5 percent, while chipmakers, which depend on China for a large portion of their revenue, also gained, with the Philadelphia chip index up 0.4 percent.
“The trade talks are going well. The main focus today is on trade and the government shutdown and both of those things seem to be moving nicely,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.
The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on bipartisan legislation to fund the government, including border security, on Thursday, ahead of a Friday deadline to avert another partial shutdown of federal agencies.
It was still not immediately clear whether Trump would sign the deal, but a source familiar with the situation said he likely would.
U.S. consumer prices were unchanged for a third straight month in January, leading to the smallest annual increase in inflation in more than 1-1/2 years, which could allow the Federal Reserve to hold interest rates steady for a while.
“Benign inflation numbers are certainly going to be viewed as a positive,” Hogan said.
The data pushed U.S. treasury yields higher, helping the financials sector rise 0.90, which provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 index.
At 11:02 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 193.35 points, or 0.76 percent, at 25,619.11. The S&P 500 was up 15.39 points, or 0.56 percent, at 2,760.12 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 28.37 points, or 0.38 percent, at 7,442.99.
Only the utilities sector was trading lower.
Analysts’ expectations for first-quarter profit have turned sour, after a largely upbeat fourth-quarter earnings. They now estimate current-quarter profit to decline 0.3 percent, which would be the first loss since the second quarter of 2016.
Dish Network Corp dropped 7.4 percent, the most among S&P companies, after the U.S. satellite TV service provider lost more-than-expected pay-TV subscribers in the fourth quarter.
TripAdvisor Inc was a close second, down 7.3 percent as the online travel company’s quarterly profit missed estimates.
Activision Blizzard Inc rose 5.2 percent after the videogame maker announced a share buyback plan, job cuts and investments to boost its pipeline.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.94-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.56-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 33 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 55 new highs and nine new lows.
(Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)