U.S. stock benchmarks on Thursday finished at or near the best levels of the session — helping the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes turn positive for the week — as jitters over a potential trade and currency clash between Beijing and Washington gave way to greed for beaten-down assets.
Setting the stage for the market’s bullish advance was China’s onshore currency fix, with the government setting the yuan at the weakest level since 2008 but slightly higher than feared, helping to stabilize a market that has swooned over global economic growth fears.
How did benchmarks perform?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.43% rose 371.12 points, or 1.4% to 26,378.19, the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.88% climbed 54.11 points, or 1.9%, to close at 2,938.72, led by a gain in the energy sector XLE, +2.87%, up 2.9% and information technology XLK, +2.45%, rising 2.4%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +2.24% climbed 176.33 points to finish at 8,039.16, a rise of 2.2%.
The gains represented the best day for the three main indexes since June 4.
For the week, the Nasdaq is on track for a weekly gain of 0.4% and the S&P 500 is set to end the week 0.2% higher. The Dow is down 0.4% so far this week. All three benchmarks tumbled by around 3% on Monday.
What’s driving the market?
Markets are still focusing on the currency fix in China as a Sino-American tariff dispute has shifted into a potential currency clash between the world’s largest economies. However fears of the worst outcome were at least temporarily quelled on Thursday after the People’s Bank of China set the onshore yuan’s USDCNY, +0.0000% reference rate at 7.0039 against one U.S. dollar.
Although that is the weakest point for the currency against the dollar since April 21, 2008,