US Stocks Climb Ahead Of China Trade Talks; Walmart Surges

By Canadian Press DataFile

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are surging Thursday morning as China and the U.S. prepare to hold their first trade discussions in months, a potential sign of progress toward ending the trade war between them. Walmart is surging after the retailer said its sales climbed in second quarter.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index climbed 18 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 2,836 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 320 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 25,482 as Walmart and Boeing both made big gains. The Nasdaq composite rose 39 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7,813.

Stocks have gone on wild swings the last few days. They slumped Friday and Monday as investors worried about Turkey’s currency crisis, then rebounded Tuesday only to fall again Wednesday on rising concerns about China’s economic growth.

TRADE HOPES: China will send a trade envoy to Washington in late August in a new attempt to end the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. The countries are in conflict over technology policy and China’s trade surplus with the U.S.

The two sides haven’t held talks since early June. After those talks, both countries put taxes on $34 billion in each other’s imports. Those taxes are set to rise next week, and both countries have threatened even larger increases.

WOW FOR WALMART: Walmart posted some of its strongest sales growth in a decade and its online revenue grew 40 per cent, a faster pace than it reported in the first quarter. The stock jumped 9.2 per cent to $98.51, which wiped out most of its losses from earlier this year.

Other retailers and consumer goods companies also edged higher. Target added 0.7 per cent to $81.29 and Procter & Gamble rose 0.8 per cent to $82.92. Amazon climbed 0.8 per cent to $1,898.60.

SOFTWARE SURGE: Symantec jumped 7 per cent to $19.86 after the activist investment firm Starboard Value disclosed a 5.8 per cent stake in the company and said it plans to nominate five directors for spots on Symantec’s board of directors.

DEPARTMENT STORES DUMPED: J.C. Penney tumbled 27 per cent to $1.76 after it took a bigger loss than analysts expected and reported weaker sales. The chain also cut its forecasts for the year again.

Department stores have made big gains this year, but they dropped Wednesday after Macy’s said its sales growth slowed during the second quarter.

Macy’s inched up 0.4 per cent to $35.31 after a 16 per cent plunge the day before.Nordstrom lost 1.1 per cent to $51.29 and Kohl’s fell 1.3 per cent to $73.39.

COMMODITIES: Oil prices were steady after a sharp drop a day earlier. U.S. crude inched up 0.2 per cent to $65.12 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, picked up 0.5 per cent to $71.15 per barrel.

Metals prices also turned higher. Copper jumped 2.6 per cent to $2.63 a pound, which made up for much of Wednesday’s loss.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.68 yen from 110.57 yen. The euro rose to $1.1401 from $1.1346.

BONDS: Bond prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.86 per cent from 2.85 per cent.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX added 0.2 per cent and in France the CAC 40 rose 0.5 per cent. Britain’sFTSE 100 rallied 0.7 per cent.

Japan’sNikkei 225 index fell 0.1 per cent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.8 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi reopened from a holiday and tumbled 0.8 per cent.

This article provided by NewsEdge.