Technology and financial stocks led a rally on Wall Street on Thursday as President Donald Trump toned down his views on attacking Syria and investors focused on what could be the strongest earnings reporting season in seven years.
Trump said a possible attack on Syria may not be imminent, easing fears of confrontation with Russia.
That lifted U.S. Treasury yields, leading to a nearly 2-per-cent increase in the financial sector.
“In the past few days, some of the worries that market was fretting about – trade wars, Facebook, missile attacks – all of those have things have been walked back a little bit,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.
BlackRock gained 2.8 per cent after the asset manager’s profit rose more than expected. Reports from JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo will kick off the earnings season in earnest on Friday.
Analysts expect quarterly profit for S&P 500 companies to rise 18.5 per cent from a year ago, the biggest gain in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“The market is finally starting to build on itself, earnings are coming. This is the real risk-on type of rally,” Antonelli said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.52 per cent at 24,556.29. The S&P 500 gained 1.12 per cent to 2,671.73 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.23 pe rcent to 7,156.18.
Treasury yields and investor sentiment were also boosted by an upbeat U.S. initial jobless claims report that pointed to sustained labor market strength.
Eight S&P sectors were higher, with the technology sector’s 1.6-per-cent gain giving the biggest boost to the market.
One notable laggard among techs was Facebook. Its shares fell 1 per cent following a 5.3 percent gain in the past two days when Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress on the data privacy scandal.
Delta Air Lines reported quarterly results that topped estimates in several key metrics, sending its shares 2.84 per cent higher and also boosting other airline stocks.
Bed Bath & Beyond shares dived more than 18 percent after the company’s full-year profit forecast missed estimates.
Canada’s main stock index was higher on Thursday, helped by a jump in Shaw Communications’ shares after the company posted a better than expected profit.
At 1:30 p.m. ET the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 30.03 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 15,297.12.
Shaw Communications provided the biggest boost to the index with a 7.2-per-cent rise. The telecom services company beat second-quarter profit expectations as wireless subscribers more than doubled from a year ago.
Second Cup Ltd. jumped 31.6 per cent after it announced Thursday that it has signed an agreement with marijuana clinic operator National Access Cannabis to develop and operate a network of recreational pot stores.
Oil prices dipped after big gains over the last two days. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 0.9 per cent to $66.20 a barrel in New York. It closed at a three-year high Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 1.1 per cent to $71.24 a barrel in London.
Precious metals prices tumbled. Gold dropped 1.3 per cent to $1,342.10 an ounce and silver fell 1.6 per cent to $16.50 an ounce.
Globally, the DAX in Germany rose 1 per cent and France’s CAC 40 added 0.5 per cent. The FTSE 100 in Britain lost 0.1 per cent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index dipped 0.1 per cent while the Kospi in South Korea ended 0.1 per cent lower. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 per cent.
With a file from The Associated Press