U.S. stocks jump further as Iran fears recede

Daniel Fowler
January 12, 2020

-China trade deal rose and several brokerages boosted price targets on high-profile companies.

Stocks around the world climbed on Thursday, and the S&P 500 was heading for a record as markets continued their rally on relief that the United States and Iran appear to be stepping away from the edge of war.

The S&P 500 added 0.6%.

Stocks have been on a multiday tear since the USA and China said they would sign their preliminary trade pact - an obstacle that hung over the stock market for about two years.

Elsewhere, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.3%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed 1.7% higher.

Investors have been closely monitoring tensions between the United States and Iran after the US killing of a top Iranian general last week and Iran's retaliatory measures this week.

US stocks have slipped as investors took profits after hitting record highs this week and data showed slower-than-expected December US jobs growth.

"And it's January - people tend to put money into the market and that tends to drive it up".

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On trade, China's commerce ministry said Vice Premier Liu He will sign a Phase 1 deal in Washington next week.

Iranian forces fired missiles overnight at military bases housing US troops in Iraq, in response to the USA killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, a move that initially sent shivers across global markets and drove USA stock futures down over 1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 186 points, or 0.6%, to 28,933 and was approaching the 29,000 level for the first time.

With the fourth-quarter earnings season set to begin in earnest next week, analysts expect profits for S&P 500 companies to have declined 0.6 per cent in their second consecutive quarterly decline, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Among the day's decliners was the department store operator Kohl's Corp, which slid 6.5 percent after reporting lower holiday season sales and warning of full-year earnings coming in at the bottom end of an already lowered forecast.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.06-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.17-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P index recorded 54 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 85 new highs and 9 new lows.

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