US stocks move higher, on pace for solid weekly gains

U.S. stocks moved higher in late-afternoon trading Friday, putting the market on track for a strong finish to the week.

Investors are hoping to erase last week’s sharp drop, which marked the worst week of the year. Otherwise, it’s been a strong showing for stocks so far in 2019, with all the major indexes showing a gain of at least 10 percent.

Technology sector companies accounted for much of the rally, with Broadcom leading the way. The chip provider posted solid profits and issued an upbeat forecast. The gains helped push chipmakers broadly higher and were strong enough to outweigh declines in software firms Adobe and Oracle, which both fell on disappointing forecasts.

Health care, financial and consumer stocks also helped lift the market. Biogen, Morgan Stanley, cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty and Amazon notched gains.

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Investors appear to be encouraged by reports that the U.S. and China could be making progress on critical negotiations aimed at resolving a trade war between the world’s two biggest economies. China’s congress endorsed an investment law that aims to address complaints, particularly from the U.S., that China’s system is rigged against foreign companies. The U.S. claims China has forced companies to share technology in order to do business in the country.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 140 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,850 as of 3:23 p.m. Eastern Time. The S&P 500 index gained 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq composite climbed 9 percent.

Major indexes in Europe and Asia finished higher.

ANALYST’S TAKE: Although the S&P 500 could close at its high for the year Friday, global political turmoil, particularly over trade, still weighs on investors, said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer at Northern

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