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By Medha Singh
(Reuters) – Gains in technology stocks led by Apple lifted Wall Street’s main indexes on Monday, as investors looked past last week’s reports that Washington was considering delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges.
Apple Inc (O:) rose 1.9% as Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook told a German daily that iPhone sales were off to a strong start, and JP Morgan raised its iPhone shipment volume forecast. Microsoft Corp (O:) climbed 0.7%.
The technology sector () gained 0.9%, the most among 11 major S&P sectors. Only energy () and financial () stocks were trading in the red.
Still, the main indexes were on course to end the quarter with their worst performance so far this year, with sentiment swinging wildly due to developments in the U.S.-China trade war and mixed indications from domestic economic data.
Reports about the United States curbing Chinese companies’ access to U.S. capital markets had sent the S&P 500 () and Nasdaq () to a more than three-week low on Friday.
However, on Monday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro dismissed the reports as “fake news.” U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (N:), Baidu Inc (O:) and JD.com Inc (O:) were up between 0.8% and 1.5%.
“This idea of using different types of levers that impact the trade negotiations is something that we will get accustomed to,” said Phil Blancato, chief executive officer of Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management in New York.
The next round of high-stakes trade talks between two of the world’s largest economies are scheduled for October.
The third quarter witnessed an escalation in U.S-China trade tensions, the inversion of an important part of the U.S. yield curve, a second U.S. interest rate cut and political turmoil in Washington.
The S&P 500 and Dow are on track for their smallest percentage gain in three quarters, with the Nasdaq heading for a marginal decline. The benchmark index is now about 2% away from its record high hit in July.
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At 11:23 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average () was up 111.73 points, or 0.42%, at 26,931.98, the S&P 500 () was up 13.30 points, or 0.45%, at 2,975.09. The Nasdaq Composite () was up 32.57 points, or 0.41%, at 7,972.20.
Merck & Co (N:) gained 1.5% 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 0.7%.
In a bright spot, Newell Brands (O:) gained 5.9% after SunTrust Robinson Humphrey upgraded the household goods maker to “buy” and said it expected the company’s turnaround process to continue.
The focus this week will be on economic reports, including a pivotal 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 1.23-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.02-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 14 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 17 new highs and 91 new lows.