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Dow Industrials Rise, Lifted by Walmart, Cisco

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05/16/2019 | 12:04pm EDT

By Jessica Menton and Will Horner

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced Thursday, boosted by stronger-than-expected earnings from Cisco and Walmart.

The retailer's results especially signaled robust consumer spending. The blue-chip index climbed 295 points, or 1.1%, to 25940. The S&P 500 added 1.4%. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.5%.

The moves brought all three major indexes to around flat for the week after big declines Monday. All 11 sectors in the S&P 500 rose, led by gains in consumer-discretionary, health care and technology stocks.

Shares of Dow component Walmart rose 3% after the retailer's sales rose in the first quarter, adding to over four years of sales increases. Walmart's upbeat earnings helped offset recent concerns about the health of the U.S. consumer after spending at retailers fell in April.

"The U.S. consumer is in exceptional shape, and Walmart's results reinforce that view," said Troy Gayeski, senior portfolio manager at SkyBridge Capital. "The capacity for the consumer to continue to spend at a reasonable rate while maintaining a high savings rate and good credit quality has continued. That's a real testament to a tight labor market and the most meaningful wage gains that we've seen in this economic cycle."

Meanwhile, Cisco Systems reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street estimates, sending shares up 6.7%. The company also said it sees a "very minimal impact" from higher tariffs as a result of the U.S.-China trade spat.

Through Wednesday, all three major indexes were off to their worst start to a May since 2012, as investors continue to fret over global trade tensions. Investors dialed back hopes for a trade deal between Washington and Beijing after President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday allowing the U.S. to ban telecommunications network equipment, a move officials said targeted Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE.

That came a day after the Trump administration postponed a decision on whether to impose tariffs on autos, sparking a small market rally for U.S. and European stocks.

Recent weak Chinese data have raised investors' hopes that Beijing would increase stimulus measures to guard against growing signs of economic weakness.

"All of that optimism in the bond market -- or pessimism about the economy -- is completely unmatched by behavior in the equity markets which moved higher" following the news of a tariff delay, said Kit Juckes, global fixed income strategist at Société Générale.

The U.S.-China trade spat and potential for U.S. tariffs on European imports added to those concerns, some analysts said.

Treasury prices fell slightly Thursday, pushing yields higher, as the rally in stocks weighed on demand for safer assets like government paper. The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.405% Thursday from 2.380% Wednesday. Yields fall as investors drive up the price of government bonds, considered havens amid growth concerns.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of currencies, rose 0.2%.

Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, added 1.7% at $72.97 a barrel. Gold fell 0.6% at $1,290.40 a troy ounce.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx 600 rose 1%. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.6% while indexes in mainland China and Hong Kong rose.

Write to Jessica Menton at Jessica.Menton@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DJ INDUSTRIAL 0.37% 25585.69 Delayed Quote.9.68%
NASDAQ 100 -0.10% 7300.960795 Delayed Quote.15.34%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.11% 7637.008585 Delayed Quote.15.10%
NIKKEI 225 -0.16% 21117.22 Real-time Quote.5.51%
S&P 500 0.14% 2826.06 Delayed Quote.12.58%
STOXX EUROPE 600 0.56% 375.89 Delayed Quote.11.33%
US DOLLAR INDEX -0.25% 97.613 End-of-day quote.0.96%
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