Wall Street gains as White House plays down trade war chances

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(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, lifted by technology companies and as industrials moved higher after the White House trade adviser said tariffs could be applied without provoking a trade war. Traders work on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew KellyPresident Donald Trump’s tough approach to global trade, including his new tariffs on metals imports, will not necessarily provoke retaliation from trading partners, Peter Navarro, the top adviser on international economic exchanges, said on CNBC. “I think the initial reaction to the commentary about trade tariffs, it was very destabilizing to the markets that the White House is aware of that and I think they dialed back the rhetoric to an extent,” said Peter Kenny, senior market strategist at Global Markets Advisory Group in New York. Corporates, especially manufacturers, have been under pressure from Trump’s protectionist policies, which recently included an aim to impose tariffs of up to $60 billion on Chinese imports and pressing for $100 billion cut in the China-U.S. trade surplus. “Prices of equities have become modestly more attractive in the recent days as a result of the compression in prices,” said Kenny. The S&P industrial index .SPLRCI was up 0.73 percent, the best performer among the 11 major S&P sectors and gaining for the first time in fours sessions. General Electric (GE.N), 3M (MMM.N) and Caterpillar (CAT.N) were up more than 1 percent. Boeing (BA.N), which investors say may be particularly vulnerable to a trade war, was up a more modest 0.4 percent. By 11:40 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI had added 1.12 percent to 25,035.02. The S&P 500 .SPX rose 0.38 percent to 2,759.98 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC gained 0.3 percent to 7,519.55. The markets also found support from economic data that showed weekly jobless claims fell last week, pointing a strong labor market, while a bigger-than-expected rise in U.S. import prices in February indicated a steady pick up in inflation. Among stocks, Alibaba (BABA.N) jumped 4.4 percent on report that the Chinese e-commerce giant was planning to list in China. Dollar General (DG.N) rose 5.8 percent after the discount retailer’s quarterly same-store sales beat estimates, while Sears (SHLD.O) gained 5 percent reporting a smaller-than-expected drop in same-store sales. Qorvo (QRVO.O) tumbled 5.9 percent to the bottom of the S&P after Bank of America said the RF chipmaker could lose out to Broadcom (AVGO.O) for a spot in upcoming iPhones. Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1,423 to 1,346. On the Nasdaq, 1,552 issues rose and 1,238 fell. Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur
Source: Reuters