U.S. stocks claw back lost ground as China stabilizes currency

Stocks rose on Wall Street in afternoon trading Tuesday, placing the market on track to recoup some of its losses from a day earlier, when S&P 500 had its biggest decline of the year.

The modest bounce came as investors welcomed China’s decision to stabilize its currency, easing some of the pressure in its trade war with the U.S. The move suggests Beijing might hold off from aggressively allowing the yuan to weaken as a way to respond to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

News that China allowed its currency to depreciate against the dollar to its lowest level in 11 years sparked Monday’s steep stock market sell-off, knocking the S&P 500 down 3%. The benchmark index had made up just under a third of those losses in afternoon trading Tuesday.

“We’re getting a nice move here, but if you look at what the tone of the market might be for the next few days it still could be under some pressure,” said Jeff Kravetz, regional investment director for U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “Right now investors are quite nervous and the reason for the nervousness is not only the trade issue, but we’re also seeing weakening economic data, not only here, but overseas.”

Technology stocks, which bore the brunt of Monday’s sell-off, helped drive the market’s broad gains Tuesday. Apple rose 1.3% and Microsoft added 1%. The companies get significant revenue from China and have been highly sensitive to swings in the ongoing trade dispute.

Communications services companies also notched solid gains. Facebook added 1.5%.

Industrials also rose. Aircraft components maker TransDigm jumped 13.7% after raising its profit forecast and delivering solid quarterly earnings.

Energy stocks dropped along with the price of crude oil. Materials sector stocks also fell.

A government report suggesting a cooling U.S. job market kept bond yields in check after an early gain. The yield on the 10-year Treasury briefly rose to 1.77%, but then declined to where it stood a day earlier at 1.73%.

Solid earnings results helped lift other sectors. Animal health company Zoetis climbed 6.8% and led health care stocks higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was up 0.9% as of 2 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 195 points, or 0.8%, to 25,913. The Nasdaq composite gained 1.1%. Stock indexes in Europe fell.

ANALYST’S TAKE: Investors are growing more anxious as the U.S. and China increase their trade war from a simmer to a boil and threaten global economic growth.

“What’s really come into the market and spooked investors is the sense that the stakes are rising again,” said James McCann, senior economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

The lingering trade dispute is looming over closely interconnected supply chains and other economies risk becoming collateral damage. Investors should be focusing on the trade dispute’s impact on the broader economy, including industrial production, along with business investment and sentiment, McCann said.

TOO BLAND: International Flavours & Fragrance tumbled 14.8% after the company trimmed its forecast following a disappointing earnings report. Profit and revenue came in below Wall Street forecasts during the second quarter. Its key food ingredients unit recorded a sales decline.

DRIVING GROWTH: Take-Two Interactive Software jumped 10% on a surge in sales of “Grand Theft Auto” and other popular video games. The company, which also makes the “Red Dead Redemption” games, beat Wall Street’s fiscal first quarter profit forecasts and gave investors a surprisingly good sales forecast for the current quarter.

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