US stocks are on pace for a record day after early surge

Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2019 By Damian J. Troise, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — An early surge on the stock market Thursday put the S&P 500 index on track for another record high and erased the market's losses from a brutal sell-off in May.

The S&P 500 rose 1% as of 10 a.m. Eastern time and was slightly above the record close it reached April 30. The index has now wiped out its losses from May, when growing economic jitters prompted a 6.6% dive.

Technology stocks were the biggest gainers in a sign that investors are in a bullish mood and hungry for riskier holdings. Oracle rose 6.5% after it reported solid financial results. Microsoft gained 1.1%. Health care and industrial stocks also rose.

Every major sector gained ground and an overwhelming majority of companies trading on the New York Stock Exchange moved higher. Safe-play stocks like utilities lagged the market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.9%, or 247 points, to 26,750. Big gains for Boeing, UnitedHealth Group, and Visa helped drive the 30-stock index higher. The technology-heavy Nasdaq rose 1%.

The market has been moving higher all week as investors became more hopeful that the U.S. and China could eventually resolve their damaging trade war and that the Federal Reserve stands ready to stabilize economic growth. The leaders of the U.S. and China are meeting next on trade.

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday reaffirmed its position that it is prepared to cut interest rates if trade conflicts or other factors threaten economic growth. It left its benchmark interest rate unchanged but investors are betting on at least one interest rate cut this year.

Oil prices surged 4.4% after tensions between the U.S. and Iran tightened and raised fears that oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz could be compromised. Iran's Revolutionary Guard said it shot down a U.S. drone on Thursday over Iranian airspace. The drone shooting follows last week's attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman.

Cruise line operators were among the few losers in the early going after Carnival slashed its profit forecast for the year. It cited technical issues with its Vista ship. It also cited a ban on U.S. cruises to Cuban ports and an economic slowdown in Europe, which both have broader implications for the sector. Carnival sank 8.7%, Royal Caribbean fell 1.9% and Norwegian fell 1.7%.

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