By Amy Caren Daniel
July 12 (Reuters) – U.S stocks gained on Thursday, led by marquee technology stocks hitting record highs and a rebound in industrial stocks, as optimism of a strong earnings season offset fears about a U.S-China trade war.
Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon hit all-time intraday highs and along with Apple and Alphabet powered the S&P 500 and Nasdaq higher.
CA Inc jumped 18.1 percent, the most on the S&P 500, after chipmaker Broadcom announced a surprise $18.9 billion deal to buy the business software company. Broadcom slumped 16.8 percent, leading S&P’s losers.
Boeing and Caterpillar, among the hardest hit by the recent trade dispute, rose about 1.3 percent helping send the Dow Jones Industrial Average index higher.
Industrials led a slide on Wall Street on Wednesday after the U.S. threatened to impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. China said on Thursday the two countries have not been in touch about restarting talks and while it does not want a trade war, it would fight if necessary.
Weekly jobless claims hit a two-month low last week, the Labor Department said, in a sign that labor market conditions remained robust in early July.
The consumer price index (CPI) barely rose in June, but the underlying trend continued to point to a steady buildup of inflation pressure that could keep the Federal Reserve on a path of gradual interest rate increases.
“The markets are telling us the economy is good and the earnings are going to be okay, but there is that element of risk, and that is an elevating trade war,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.
“If trade fears continue to ease, then investors are going to be very much in tune to the earnings season and that could trigger a strong rally.”
The earnings season kicks off in earnest on Friday, starting with the big Wall Street banks, and overall S&P 500 companies are expected to post second-quarter profit growth of around 21 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
However, the financial sector dropped 0.16 percent, ahead of results from JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup.
At 11:39 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 172.05 points, or 0.70 percent, at 24,872.50, the S&P 500 was up 15.51 points, or 0.56 percent, at 2,789.53 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 65.80 points, or 0.85 percent, at 7,782.41.
Netflix fell 2.1 percent, the only decliner among the so-called ‘FAANG’ stocks, after UBS downgraded the stock on valuation concerns.
The brokerage said it does not expect to see “the pronounced upside to Q2 results vs. prior quarters” when Netflix reports results on Monday.
Delta Air Lines rose 1.1 percent, and lifted other airline stocks, after the carrier’s quarterly profit topped estimates on higher average fares.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.06-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 31 new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 72 new highs and 32 new lows.