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U.S. Stocks Rise as Investors Focus on Trade Talks

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02/11/2019 | 10:14am EST

By Akane Otani

Major U.S. stock indexes rose Monday, as U.S. officials arrived in Beijing to start another round of trade negotiations with China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 47 points, or 0.2%, to 24152 in recent trading, while the S&P 500 added 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite also rose, gaining 0.3%.

Investors are starting the week with a close eye on trade talks between Washington and Beijing, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin landing in Beijing Monday and scheduled to meet with China's vice premier later in the week.

The talks could spark fresh volatility for financial markets. Stocks rose in January on fresh hopes that the U.S. and China would be able to carve out a trade deal, but some of that optimism appeared to lose steam last week as investors parsed a stream of downbeat economic data.

"There's this belief that this is going to very quickly resolve itself, and I think the reality is that there are very complicated long-term issues on the trade relationship between the two most powerful economies around the world," said Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at Credit Suisse.

While economic growth in the U.S. still looks relatively steady, Mr. Golub cautioned that an unexpected breakdown in trade talks remain a major market risk.

"I'm actually quite optimistic about the broad backdrop -- but that doesn't mean that there's no risk," he said.

On Monday, 10 of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors notched modest gains, led by industrial and technology stocks. Game maker Electronic Arts led the broad index, rising more than 9%, after two analysts raised price targets on the company's stock.

Among industrial stocks, Norfolk Southern added 4.2% after the railroad company unveiled a strategic plan focused on increased productivity and revenue growth, as well as achieving a dividend payout ratio of 33%.

Although the pace of earnings releases has begun to slow down, investors are expecting to get quarterly results from companies including Everest Re Group and Chegg after the closing bell Monday.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.6%, while major indexes in Asia ended mixed.

Data Monday showed U.K. gross domestic product grew last year at the slowest pace since 2012. The British pound fell to session lows following the report, although it pared its losses to trade down 0.1% against the U.S. dollar. The FTSE 100 -- whose multinationals tend to benefit from a weaker pound -- rose 0.3%.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite jumped 1.4% to a two-month high, while Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was shut for a holiday and Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.6%.

--Michael Wursthorn contributed to this article.

Write to Akane Otani at akane.otani@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
CHINA-SHANGHAI COMP -1.37% 2682.39 End-of-day quote.7.39%
DJ INDUSTRIAL 1.74% 25883.25 Delayed Quote.9.05%
FTSE 100 INDEX 0.28% 7234.11 End-of-day quote.0.00%
HANG SENG -1.94% 27863.12 Real-time Quote.9.94%
NASDAQ 100 0.47% 7055.1793 Delayed Quote.11.46%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.61% 7472.4101 Delayed Quote.12.62%
NIKKEI 225 -1.13% 20900.63 Real-time Quote.4.43%
S&P 500 1.09% 2775.6 Delayed Quote.9.53%
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