US stocks broadly higher, on pace for solid weekly gains
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in midday trading on Wall Street Friday, putting the market on track for a strong finish to the week.
The market is trying to erase last week's sharp drop, which marked the worst week of the year. Othewise, it's been a strong showing for stocks so far in 2019, with all the major indexes showing a gain of at least 10 percent.
Technology and retail companies led the advances.
Chip provider Broadcom led technology stocks higher after posting solid profits and issuing an upbeat forecast. The gains helped push chipmakers broadly higher and were strong enough to outweigh declines in Adobe and Oracle, which both fell on disappointing forecasts.
Cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty helped push consumer stocks higher. Amazon also posted early gains.
Investors appear to be encouraged by reports that the U.S. and China could be making progress on critical negotiations aimed at resolving a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. China's congress endorsed an investment law that aims to address complaints, particularly from the U.S., that China's system is rigged against foreign companies. The U.S. has accused China of forcing companies to share technology in order to do business in the country.
Stocks in Asia finished higher, with China's Shanghai exchange posting a gain of 1 percent.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 154 points, or 0.6 percent, to 25,865 as of 11:55 a.m. The S&P 500 index rose 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.8 percent.
ANALYST'S TAKE: Although the S&P 500 could close at its high for the year Friday, global political turmoil, particularly surrounding trade, is still weighing on investors, said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer at Northern Trust Wealth Management.
"There's so much importance placed on these geopolitical risks," Nixon said. "They have to be resolved for the market to go forward."
Nixon said that investors are more confident that the Federal Reserve will hold off on any action that could jeopardize economic growth. But they are still focused on getting past the uncertainty of a U.S.-China trade deal. The latest development is a needed sign of progress, she said, as is the United Kingdom's move to try to delay its exit from the European Union.
"This sort of political chaos does cast a relative pall over global investors' risk appetite," she said.
BROADCOM BUMP: Chip provider Broadcom touched an all-time high after it reported a better-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter profit and told investors that it would return $12 billion to stockholders in 2019 through dividends and buybacks. The stock rose 11.5 percent.
CEO Hock E. Tan expects the chip business to hit a low in the second quarter and then notch growth during the second half of the year. That assessment helped give other chipmakers a lift. Intel rose 1.7 percent and Nvidia rose 2.7 percent.
PRETTY PROFIT: Cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty beat Wall Street forecasts for all its key fourth-quarter measures, including profit and sales.
The stock rose 8.7 percent.
QUITTING FACEBOOK: Two longtime Facebook executives are resigning, following the social media company's recent announcement that it will shift its corporate focus. The stock fell 2.7 percent.
Product chief Chris Cox is leaving after spending more than 10 years with the company. Chris Daniels, who had been overseeing Facebook's encrypted messaging service WhatsApp, is also leaving.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg is shifting the company's emphasis to private messaging from public sharing.
BONDS: Investors bought bonds after a report on industrial production showed a second consecutive monthly decline in manufacturing in the U.S. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.59 percent.