Apple-led tech rally drives Wall Street higher

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© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York© Reuters. Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were higher on Monday after the technology sector surged on the back of gains in Apple shares, helping Wall Street’s major indexes recoup most of their losses from the previous session.

Shares of the iPhone maker (O:) rose 2.3% as Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told a German daily that sales of the newly launched phones were off to a strong start, while JP Morgan raised its forecast for shipment volumes. Microsoft Corp (O:) climbed 1%.

Cook’s commentary correlates to how the broader U.S. economy is holding up, said Phil Blancato, chief executive officer of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York.

The technology sector () gained 1.2%, the most among 11 major S&P sectors. Only energy () stocks were trading in the red, tracking a fall in oil prices. [O/R]

Sentiment also got a boost after White House trade adviser Peter Navarro dismissed reports that the Trump administration was considering delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges as “fake news.”

The news had sent the S&P 500 () and Nasdaq () to a more than three-week low on Friday.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (N:), Baidu Inc (O:) and Inc (O:) were up between 0.8% and 1.7% on Monday.

“This idea of using different types of levers that impact trade negotiations is something that we will get accustomed to,” Ladenburg’s Blancato said.

The next round of high-stakes trade talks between two of the world’s largest economies are scheduled for October.

The main indexes are on course to end the third quarter with their worst performance so far this year, rattled by a host of factors including an escalation in U.S-China trade tensions, the inversion of an important part of the U.S. yield curve and political turmoil in Washington.

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At 12:29 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average () was up 162.02 points, or 0.60%, at 26,982.27, the S&P 500 () was up 20.93 points, or 0.71%, at 2,982.72. The Nasdaq Composite () was up 59.50 points, or 0.75%, at 7,999.13.

Merck & Co (N:) gained 2.1% as it presented promising data for its Lynparza cancer drug, which it develops in partnership with Britain’s AstraZeneca (L:). Its shares helped the healthcare sector gain 1.3%.

Newell Brands (O:) jumped 6.3% after SunTrust Robinson Humphrey upgraded the household goods maker to “buy”.

The focus this week will be on economic reports, including a key jobs report and the September ISM purchasing managers index (PMI). August’s PMI data showed a contraction in the manufacturing sector.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.59-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.27-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 16 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 17 new highs and 102 new lows.

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