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Stocks rise on optimism ahead of US-China trade deal


U.S. stocks rose in early trading Monday as investors looked ahead to the signing of an initial trade deal with China and the potential for future talks.

The world’s largest economies are expected to sign the “Phase 1” trade agreement on Wednesday. It is being viewed as an opening to future negotiations that will deal with more complicated trade issues. Wall Street is also looking ahead to a busy opening week of corporate earnings being kicked off by major banks.

Technology stocks led the gains in the early going. Chipmakers Nivida rose 1.6% and Micron climbed 1.3%. The sector is particularly sensitive to developments in trade relations because many of the companies rely on China for sales and supply chains.

Industrial companies also made solid gains. General Electric rose 1.9%.

Health care and energy stocks slumped. Cigna fell 2.6% and Haliburton shed 1.5%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.85% from 1.82% late Friday, in another sign that investors are heading into the week with confidence.

KEEPINGS SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.2% as 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 35 points, or 0.1%, to 28,861. The Nasdaq rose 0.3%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks fell 0.1%.

STRONG DEFENSE: Hexcel rose 9.5% after the company said it is being bought by rival Woodward in a deal that will create one of the largest suppliers in the aerospace and defense industry. Woodward rose 4.9% and will own the majority of the combined company when the deal closes.

TAKE A BOW: Netflix rose 1.2% as the streaming video service earned two best picture nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards. Both Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” are contenders. The streaming video service has been pushing further into production of its own movies and original programming as competition heats up with other services, including Amazon and Hulu, along with traditional players such as HBO.

EARNINGS AHEAD: Banks will be the first major companies to give investors a clearer profit picture for the final quarter of 2019. JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup will report fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday and Bank of America will follow on Wednesday.

Delta Air Lines will be the first major airline to report financial results on Tuesday. The nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, will report earnings on Wednesday and railroad operator CSX will report on Thursday.

ECONOMY IN FOCUS: Wall Street will also have several economic reports to consider this week. The government will release its December reports on consumer prices and wholesale prices on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

The government will also release December reports for retails sales and home construction activity this week.

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