Wall Street ends sharply higher on German stimulus optimism

By Stephen Culp
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rebounded on Friday as an ebbing bond rally and news of potential German economic stimulus brought buyers back to the equities market, closing the book on a tumultuous week.

While all three major U.S. stock averages ended the session higher, they still logged their third consecutive weekly losses, having been rattled since Monday by growing U.S.-China trade animosity, simmering geopolitical tensions and signals from the bond market that sparked fears of impending recession.

Germany's coalition government is willing to suspend its balanced budget rule and take on debt, according to Der Spiegel magazine, raising hopes that Europe's largest economy could steer itself away from recession and cooling worries over a global economic slowdown.

"The market is looking for some positive news to take into the weekend," said Mark Kepner, equity trader at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Wealth Advisors in New York, agreed, but added that underlying anxieties remain.

"(It was a) great headline but further analysis may eventually create uncertainty and weaken markets," Carter said. "The level of uncertainty around the world is rising significantly, with no clear end in sight."

German stimulus hopes helped the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rise from three-year lows, closing the book on a fraught week which saw 10-year yields dip below those of two-year notes, a classic recessionary red flag.

Rising bond yields gave a boost to rate-sensitive banks, sending the S&P 500 Banks index <.SPXBK> up 2.6%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average <.DJI> rose 306.62 points, or 1.2%, to 25,886.01, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 41.09 points, or 1.44%, to 2,888.69 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 129.38 points, or 1.67%, to 7,895.99.

All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 closed firmly in the black, with industrials <.SPLRCI>, technology <.SPLRCT> and financials <.SPSY> enjoying the largest percentage gains.

Nvidia Corp <NVDA.O> jumped 7.3% after the chipmaker's quarterly results bested analyst estimates, helping the Philadelphia chip index <.SOX> gain 2.8%.

Deere & Co <DE.N> cut its earnings forecast after missing Street profit estimates in the face of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. Still, the farm equipment maker's decision to cut costs sent the stock up 3.8%.

General Electric Co <GE.N> surged by 9.7% after Chief Executive Officer Larry Culp bought nearly $2 million in shares in the wake of the conglomerate's worst one-day percentage drop in 11 years.

The second-quarter earnings season approaches the finish line, with 459 of the companies in the S&P 500 having posted results. Of those, 73% beat Street estimates, according to Refinitiv data.

Analysts now see S&P 500 second-quarter earnings growth of 2.9% year-on-year, per Refinitiv.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.36-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.69-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 32 new 52-week highs and 8 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 39 new highs and 106 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.61 billion shares, compared with the 7.54 billion average over the last 20 trading days.


(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Alden Bentley; Editing by Tom Brown)