Stocks Mostly Rise as Investors Push to Break Losing Streak
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks moved broadly higher in midday trading on Wall Street Thursday as investors pushed to break a four-day losing streak.
The broader market has been having a wobbly week so far, often starting strong and then running out of steam toward the end of trading. Investors have been mostly pulling back ahead of a key trade meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China set for this weekend.
Every major index is down roughly 1% for the week but they are all still on track to register gains of more than 6% for the month.
Banks were the biggest gainers as bond yields remained nearly flat. Bank of America rose 1.2% and Wells Fargo rose 1.4%.
Health care stocks gained momentum throughout the day, led by a 3.3% gain for AbbVie, which is in the process of buying Botox maker Allergan for $63 billion. Merck and Pfizer were among several other pharmaceutical companies moving higher.
Technology stocks helped lead the gains in early trading. Chipmakers, which have much to gain or lose from the result of the trade negotiations, were particularly strong. Nvidia rose 1.6% and Broadcom rose 1.4%.
Traders signaled a greater appetite for risk by snapping up stocks known for higher growth, including technology companies. Utilities eked out small gains and makers of consumer products lagged the market in another sign that investors were shifting away from safe-play holdings.
Boeing weighed down the entire industrial sector as the aircraft maker faces more software problems with its 737 Max aircraft.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.2% as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 47 points, or 0.2%, to 26,489 as Boeing dragged the index. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.4%.
TAKEOFF DELAYS: Boeing fell 2.6% after the airplane maker said a new software problem has been found in its troubled 737 Max aircraft.
Government test pilots trying out Boeing’s updated Max software in a flight simulator last week found a flaw that could result in the plane’s nose pitching down. The aircraft has been grounded worldwide after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people.
The company is also facing calls for more pilot training on the aircraft, which could be costly.
SPOILED GROCERIES: Chef Boyardee and Peter Pan peanut butter maker Conagra Brands fell 10.7% after falling short of Wall Street’s fiscal fourth quarter financial forecasts.
The company makes a wide range of food products that also include Jiffy Pop and Swanson frozen dinners. It has been struggling along with other large processed food makers to compete amid shifting consumer trends to seemingly healthier food options.
BUILDING PROFIT: Homebuilder KB Home rose 5.2% after it blew past Wall Street’s profit forecasts for its fiscal second quarter.
The company reported growth in orders for new homes. The industry is benefiting from low mortgage rates. KB and its peers have also reported a slight decrease in home prices, which also helps potential homebuyers.
By AP reporter Damian J. Troise