August 19, 2019 / 2:15 PM / 2 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St rallies on stimulus cheer, Apple leads tech gains

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* Indexes up: Dow 1.10%, S&P 1.16%, Nasdaq 1.45%

* Interest-rate banks gain as U.S. Treasury yields rise

* Estee Lauder jumps after FY forecast raise (Updates to market open)

By Medha Singh

Aug 19 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks surged on Monday on growing hopes that major economies would act to stymie the slowing economic effects of escalating global trade tensions, while technology stocks rose led by a nearly 3% gain in Apple’s shares.

China’s central bank unveiled a key interest rate reform on Saturday to help steer borrowing costs lower for companies, close on the heels of news of a potential German economic easing.

The rally was also helped by easing demand for safe-haven government bonds, with investors looking for bargains in beaten-down stocks after three weeks of declines. Rising bond yields gave a boost to rate-sensitive banks, sending the S&P 500 Banks index up 1.55%.

“The yield curve is widening and people are starting to feel like its time to get back into stocks, especially after they’ve gotten cheaper in the past few weeks,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

Traders will be split on direction for the next few weeks as they balance trade risks and signs of slowing growth with the potential for more action from the U.S. Federal Reserve and others in September.

The focus this week will be on Wednesday’s release of minutes from the Fed’s July policy meeting, when the central bank cut rates for the first time in more than a decade, and Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at a central banks meeting in Jackson Hole on Friday.

“The Street is going to be hopeful that the Fed will take away the ‘mid-cycle’ comment on rate cuts, which we all know is going to be coming,” Pavlik said.

Shares of Apple Inc provided the biggest boost to the three main Wall Street indexes. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he had spoken with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook about the impact of U.S. tariffs.

Chipmakers, which depend on China for a large portion of their revenue, also gained with the Philadelphia chip index up 2.46%.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday the U.S. government will extend a reprieve given to Huawei Technologies that permits the Chinese firm to buy supplies from U.S. companies so that it can service existing customers, even as nearly 50 of its units were being added to a U.S. economic blacklist.

At 9:45 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 284.13 points, or 1.10%, at 26,170.14, the S&P 500 was up 33.43 points, or 1.16%, at 2,922.11. The Nasdaq Composite was up 114.49 points, or 1.45%, at 8,010.49.

All of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher with a 1.67% rise in technology sector leading gainers.

Estee Lauder Cos Inc jumped 9.3% as it forecast full-year revenue and profit above estimates, bolstered by booming demand for its premium skincare products and strength in its Asia-Pacific business.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 4.36-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 3.97-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 28 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 44 new highs and 13 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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