Indexes climb on China stimulus hopes, hold ground after Fed minutes

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the Nasdaq market site in the Manhattan borough of New York City© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the Nasdaq market site in the Manhattan borough of New York City

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday as optimism that China would take more measures to prop up its economy eased concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

Stocks held gains following the release of minutes from U.S. Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting, which showed policymakers were cautiously optimistic about their ability to hold interest rates steady this year while acknowledging new risks caused by the virus outbreak.

The number of new coronavirus cases dropped for a second straight day in China, although global health officials cautioned it was too early to predict how the outbreak will play out.

China is widely expected to cut its benchmark lending interest rate on Thursday, which would add to a number of measures aimed at limiting the impact from business shutdowns and travel curbs on the world’s second-largest economy.

“It sounds as though investors are breathing a sigh of relief that they believe the worst of the coronavirus is behind us,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Investment Management in Chicago.

Also, he said, “Investors are feeling emboldened because central banks have got their back.”

Apple Inc (O:) rose 1.5%, recouping most of the ground lost on Tuesday on a surprise sales warning that highlighted concerns about the impact of the virus on global supply chains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average () rose 145.7 points, or 0.5%, to 29,377.89, the S&P 500 () gained 20.08 points, or 0.60%, to 3,390.37, and the Nasdaq Composite () added 97.01 points, or 1%, to 9,829.76.

The S&P 500 technology sector () was up 1.2%.

Also helping the technology sector was a 5.3% gain in chipmaker Nvidia Corp (O:) after Bernstein raised its shares to “outperform.”

Among other stocks, Garmin Ltd (O:) jumped 7.3% after the wearable fitness devices maker forecast full-year revenue above analysts’ estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.59-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.93-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 77 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 161 new highs and 47 new lows.

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