Stocks – Apple Helps S&P Rally as a Quarter of Struggles Ends

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© Reuters. © Reuters. – Stocks finished the third quarter on a high note, led by strength in Apple (NASDAQ:), Microsoft (NASDAQ:) and other tech stocks.

The finished the day up 0.5%. The rose 0.75% and the climbed 0.88%. The added 0.36%.

The quarter showed the smallest gains for stocks in the first three quarters of the year, with the gains fading toward Monday’s close.

The and were up 1.2% for the quarter, with the Nasdaq up down 0.09%.

The market was buffeted repeatedly by fears of an all-out trade war between the United States and China, malaise in Europe and the threat of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The uncertainty cut down what began as a strong start to the quarter.

On July 26, the was up nearly 2.9% and reached an all-time high of 3,028. Then it faded. Monday’s close was its seventh straight close below 3,000.

But the S&P 500, and Nasdaq all moved higher for the month.

The S&P 500 is up 18.7% for the year, with the Dow up 15.4% and the Nasdaq up 20.6%. The S&P 500’s nine-month gain is its best since 1997.

While the market is up strongly for the year, however, most of the gains came in the first quarter and a clear stall starting in late July. Moreover, indexes have been boosted by gains in an increasingly narrow band of stocks.

Monday’s rally was set off by assurances from the Trump Administration that it was not planning to disrupt capital flows between the U.S. and China. On Friday, a report the U.S. might try to delist Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges blew up a rally.

Apple (NASDAQ:) rose 2.44%, and saw its market capitalization top $1 trillion for the first time since Sept. 18, behind only Microsoft (NASDAQ:), which also moved higher on Monday.

Apple (NASDAQ:) was the biggest driver for gains in all the indexes. The gain resulted when JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) analyst Samik Chatterjee boosted his price target on the stock to $265 from $243, citing better-than-expected sales of the new iPhone 11.

The consensus target price among analysts tracked by is $226.48.

Also boosting the overall was Merck (NYSE:), up 1.6% on promising data from its Lynparza cancer drug. The company is developing the drug with AstraZeneca (NYSE:). AstraZeneca, however, was off 1.6% in New York.

The market gains came as fell 70 cents to $55.21, along with . The December gold contract closed down $33.50 to $1,472.90 an ounce.

U.S. crude finished the quarter down about 5.6%. crude, the global benchmark was off more than 7% in the quarter, after falling to $60.78 a barrel on Monday.

Interest rates were mostly flat, with the yield at 1.675%, up from Friday’s 1.674%. The dollar hit a 52-week high against on reports economists expect to cut growth forecasts for Germany. Germany’s Index was up 0.38% on the day.

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