Wall Street hits record, boosted by trade and earnings optimism

(Reuters) – Apple and other tech favorites propelled Wall Street to record highs on Monday, fueled by optimism about the signing of a preliminary U.S.-China trade deal, as well upcoming fourth-quarter earnings reports.

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 13, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O), Netflix Inc (NFLX.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), which have powered the longest bull run in U.S. equities, were among the top contributors to intraday record highs hit by the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

Google-owner Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) rose 0.6%, bringing its market capitalization to $991 billion.

An easing of Middle East tensions and the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade agreement, which is expected to be signed in Washington on Wednesday, have encouraged riskier bets over the last week.

“People are optimistic about earnings and they’re also relieved that the Iran situation last week didn’t end up being worse than it was, and people are happy that China and the U.S. are coming together to sign the Phase 1 trade deal. There’s a lot to be optimistic about,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Bloomberg, citing sources, reported that the Trump administration planned to lift its designation of China as a currency manipulator, adding to the positive mood.

Investors are awaiting earnings from big banks JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), which kick off the fourth-quarter reporting season from Tuesday.

Analysts expect profits at S&P 500 companies to drop 0.6% for a second consecutive quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Many investors, however, are already looking ahead to a potentially rosier earnings outlook once Washington and China resolve their trade dispute.

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