Wall St rises on trade hopes, chip stocks at record highs

New York: US stocks rose on Wednesday, extending a strong start to the quarter as rising hopes of a trade deal with Beijing and bullish reports lifted the semiconductor index to a record high. Advanced Micro Devices Inc jumped 9.08 per cent, the biggest gainer on the S&P 500, and Intel Corp rose 2.50 per cent after Nomura Instinet started coverage of both the stocks with “buy” ratings.

Chip stocks, which are heavily reliant on China for their revenue, have surged more than 27 per cent this year on optimism about trade and recovering demand for chips. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index jumped as much as 3 per cent to a record high.

“Tech and semis are a huge part of what China does and what the US consumes,” said Michael Antonelli, market strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee. “The price action in this sector (semiconductors) will be viewed as a positive going forward.”

The rally came as White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow sounded upbeat about the trade talks, adding that Beijing and Washington hope to get closer to a deal this week.

“The fact that a trade deal is probably at hand is helping lift markets,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

The Institute for Supply Management came out with its US services sector PMI for March, which was below estimates and at its lowest since August 2017. Earlier, the ADP National Employment Report showed US private employers added 129,000 jobs in March, below economists’ estimates.

However, growth concerns have taken a back seat this week after upbeat manufacturing data from China and the United States, as well as a report showing China’s services sector rose to a 14-month high in March.

At 2230 IST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 62.01 points, or 0.24 per cent,

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