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Jan. 25, 2020

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Stocks climb ahead of trade deal, sending S&P 500 to record

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Technology companies led stocks to broad gains on Wall Street Monday, driving the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite indexes to more record highs.

Financial, communications services and industrial stocks also notched solid gains. Health care stocks were the only decliners. Bond prices fell, sending yields higher, and the price of gold fell, signs that investors were favoring higher-risk holdings.

The rally, which added to the market’s gains from last week, came as investors looked ahead to the signing of an initial trade deal with China and the potential for future talks.

The world’s largest economies are expected to sign the Phase 1 trade agreement Wednesday. It is being viewed as an opening to future negotiations that will deal with more complicated trade issues.

Even a partial deal should remove much of the uncertainty that has weighed on companies and investors, at least until after the election, said Scott Ladner, chief investment officer for Horizon Investments in Charlotte.

“We don’t think the tariff overhang is going to be very relevant over the next nine months,” Ladner said. “Acting tough with China and imposing tariffs two years before an election is a very different story than doing it two months before an election.”

The S&P 500 index rose 22.78 points, or 0.7 percent, to 3,288.13. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 95.07 points, or 1 percent, to 9,273.93. The S&P and Nasdaq previously set new highs last Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 83.28 points, or 0.3 percent, to 28,907.05.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 11.96 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,669.61.

Worries about a recession have faded as central banks cut interest rates and pumped stimulus into the global economy.

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