Trade optimism, earnings power Wall St to fresh record high


By Arjun Panchadar

Nov 15 (Reuters) - Wall Street's main indexes hit fresh record highs on Friday, led by gains in technology stocks as upbeat comments related to U.S.-China trade talks and solid earnings from semiconductor industry bellwether Applied Materials brightened sentiment.

Shares in Applied Materials Inc AMAT.O jumped 9.2% and pushed the Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX to an all-time high after the chip gear maker forecast first-quarter results above estimates.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. The trade-sensitive technology sector .SPLRCT rose 0.5%, providing the biggest boost.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said late on Thursday that the world's two largest economies were getting close to a trade agreement, citing what he called very constructive talks with Beijing.

Adding to the upbeat mood, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said there would be a call between U.S. and Chinese officials later on Friday.

"We have been here so many times where the market gets its hopes up and then it gets crushed," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.

"But certainly with an election coming up next year, you would want to have all these things behind you, so a mini-deal or a trade truce makes a lot of sense."

Data showed U.S. retail sales rebounded in October, but consumers cut back on purchases of big-ticket household items and clothing, which could temper expectations for a strong holiday shopping season.

The report comes a day after the benchmark S&P hit an all-time closing high following robust earnings from retail giant Walmart Inc WMT.N.

Wall Street's main indexes have been powered recently by hopes of a trade deal, largely better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and a third interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

At 10:15 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 107.75 points, or 0.39%, at 27,889.71, while the S&P 500 .SPX was up 10.97 points, or 0.35%, at 3,107.60. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 38.97 points, or 0.46%, at 8,517.99.

Qualcomm Inc QCOM.O gained 2% after Mizuho upgraded its rating on the stock to "buy" from "neutral".

But Nvidia Corp NVDA.O fell 3.3% as the company said it expects its gaming chip business to be impacted by seasonal weakness in the fourth quarter.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.70-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.47-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 39 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 73 new highs and 62 new lows.

(Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D'Silva)

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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