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Overnight Markets: Wall Street inches higher as trade fears ebb

Overnight Markets: Wall Street inches higher as trade fears ebb

by Himanshu Singh May 15, 2018 at 03:19

US stock indexes posted modest gains on Monday as weakness in defensive stocks offset optimism on signs of easing trade tensions between the US and China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 70 points, or 0.28%, to 24,901, the S&P 500 gained three points, or 0.09%, to 2,730 and the Nasdaq Composite added eight points, or 0.11%, to 7,411.

US President Donald Trump Trump said on Sunday that he will help Chinese communications firm ZTE "get back into business, fast" nearly a month after the Commerce Department implemented a ban on US companies selling to the company. Trump's reversal came ahead of high-level talks between the world's two largest economies.

Gains by healthcare and energy stocks outweighed losses in real estate companies and other decliners. Casino operators and equipment companies surged after a Supreme Court decision that cleared the way for states to legalise sports betting.

MGM Resorts rose 1.6%. Penn National Gaming climbed 4.7%, while Empire Resorts jumped 15.7%.

US companies that would stand to benefit from an effort to rescue ZTE moved higher. Acacia Communications jumped 8.7%, while Oclaro gained 2.9%.

Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors also got a boost as investors banked that Chinese regulators will reverse their stance and approve Qualcomm’s proposed $44 billion acquisition of NXP. Qualcomm rose 2.7%, while NXP surged 11.8%.

Investors continued to bet on health care companies. CVS Health gained 3.7%.

Viacom tumbled 4.9% after CBS sued its controlling shareholder, seeking to block efforts to make the company combine with Viacom.

Small-company stocks also fell. The Russell 2000 index lost its early gains, sliding 6.45 points, or 0.4%, to 1,600.

Wall Street’s small gains failed to inspire Asia stocks on Tuesday, with stock indexes in the region hovering around the flat line in early trade.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 edged up by 0.04% and the Topix advanced 0.17%. Over in Seoul, the benchmark Kospi was off by 0.03%. Meanwhile, in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 drifted lower by 0.07%.

In China, the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.06%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.68%.

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