Wall Street boosted as US and China cool fears of trade war

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Global stock indexes kept climbing as investors around the world grew more optimistic that a trade dispute between the US and China will be resolved without much damage.

In the US, banks and retailers made some of the biggest gains.

The rally started late on Wednesday as American and Chinese officials reassured investors they are willing to talk and are not rushing into a trade war between the two largest economies in the world.

That could hurt global economic growth and company profits.

The reassurances helped stocks reverse the big losses they had taken hours earlier.

Worries and fears about international trade and new troubles for Facebook and Amazon have blotted out almost everything else over the last two weeks, and the market has been on a wild ride with a lot of unusually big moves.

Between March 22 and Wednesday, the S&P 500 rose at least 1% or fell at least 1% in eight out of nine trading days.

“Very often the reaction in the market is ‘sell first and ask questions later,’” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

The S&P 500 index climbed 18.15 points, or 0.7%, to 2,662.84.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 240.92 points, or 1%, to 24,505.22.

The Nasdaq composite added 34.44 points, or 0.5%, to 7,076.55.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 11.26 points, or 0.7%, to 1,542.93.

The German Dax jumped 2.9% and the CAC 40 in France rose 2.6%.

Britain’s FTSE 100 surged 2.4%.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (Richard Drew/AP)
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (Richard Drew/AP)

Amazon led retail companies higher with a gain of 41.18 dollars, or 2.9%, to 1,451.75 dollars.

Netflix added 5.03 dollars, or 1.7%, to 293.97 dollars and Nike picked up 1.17 dollars, or 1.7%, to 69.59 dollars.

Facebook rose 4.24 dollars, or 2.7%, to 159.34 dollars after chief executive Mark Zuckerberg told reporters that Facebook has not lost many users in the wake of a major privacy controversy.

The company also plans to give users more information about the data it gathers and restrict the user data that outsiders can access.

At the same time, Facebook revealed that as many as 87 million users may have had their data exposed in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, more than the 50 million disclosed in published reports.

Its stock is down 14% since the scandal became public almost three weeks ago.

Stocks tumbled on Wednesday morning after the US and China each announced tariffs on about 50 billion dollars in goods made by the other country.

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