Stocks rise modestly as investors weigh trade optimism with weak economic data

U.S. stocks rose Friday as the major benchmarks aim for their most robust weekly gains in a month, and as investors parse optimistic headlines on U.S.-China trade developments as well as conflicting data on the U.S. economy.

Stocks will also be affected by Friday’s quadruple witching, the simultaneous expiration of stock-index futures and stock-index options, as well as individual stock futures and options.

How did major indexes fare?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.62% rose 35 points, or 0.1%, at 25,749, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.54% climbed 9 points, or 0.3%, at 2,815. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.83% advanced 53 points to 7,683, a gain of 0.7%.

For the week, the Dow is set for a weekly gain of 1.3%, while the S&P 500 is set to rise 2.8%, while the Nasdaq is on pace to rise 3.8% over the past five trading days. The gains would mark the biggest weekly gain since the period ended Feb. 15, according to FactSet data.

What are benchmarks doing?

The Dow has been weighed down this week by Boeing Inc.’s BA, +2.08% struggles related to the grounding of its 737 Max 8 and Max 9. The performance of the broader market, and tech shares in particular, were more robust after data showing that U.S. workers remain in high demand and that consumer confidence is rising.

Investors are also digesting comments from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Beijing’s No. 2 leader after President Xi Jinping, who expressed optimism that a trade deal between China and the U.S. can be achieved that suits both parties.

He also denied accusations that the country used its technology to spy on other countries, attempting to lay to rest one of the key issues that stand between the U.S. and China in a trade agreement.

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