Stocks rose in afternoon trading on Wall Street Tuesday as talks on ending the war in Ukraine showed signs of progress.
The S&P 500 rose 0.5 per cent as of 1:04 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 110 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 35,063 and the Nasdaq rose one per cent.
The gains were led by technology and communications companies. Apple rose one per cent and Netflix rose 2.8 per cent. Retailers and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending also made solid gains.
Smaller company stocks outpaced the broader market in a sign that investors were confident about the economy. The Russell 2000 rose 1.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, the gains in the technology sector helped lift Canada’s main stock index higher in late-morning trading.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 49.19 points at 22,027.02.
The Canadian dollar traded for 79.86 cents US compared with 79.41 cents US on Monday.
The May crude oil contract was down US$3.15 at US$102.81 per barrel and the May natural gas contract was down 16 cents at US$5.38 per mmBTU.
The June gold contract was down US$29.30 at US$1,915.40 an ounce and the May copper contract was up less than a penny at US$4.73 a pound.
The first face-to-face talks in two weeks between Russia and Ukraine began Tuesday in Turkey. Turkey’s foreign minister says Russian and Ukrainian negotiators have reached “a consensus and common understanding” on some issues. Russia’s military said it would “fundamentally” cut back operations near Ukraine’s capital and a northern city, as talks brought a possible deal to end a grinding and brutal war into view.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been unsettling markets and adding to lingering concerns about persistently rising inflation and global economic growth. Investors were already busy trying to determine the potential duration and impact of rising inflation on businesses and consumers when the conflict began a month ago.
“What we’ve seen over the course of last several weeks is capital markets have looked toward removing some of the worst case scenarios,” said Bill Northey, senior investment director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
Energy prices have been extremely volatile as the conflict continues, but have been easing over the last few days. Pressure on prices is also being relieved as Chinese authorities lock down Shanghai because of a surge in COVID-19 cases, which could crimp global demand for oil.
U.S. crude oil prices fell 2.8% and Brent crude, the international standard, fell 2.7%. Prices are still up more than 30% globally, but were up more than 50% as of just last week.
Falling oil prices weighed down energy companies, which had some of the biggest losses on Tuesday. Hess slid 2.3 per cent.
European markets were higher and Asian markets closed mixed overnight.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.40 per cent from 2.47 per cent late Tuesday. Bond yields had been rising as Wall Street prepares for higher interest rates after years of ultra-low interest policies from central banks around the world. The rate hikes are part of a strategy to help temper the impacts of rising inflation.
The Federal Reserve has already announced a 0.25% hike of its key benchmark interest rate and is prepared to continue raising rates.
Wall Street is also reviewing the latest economic updates this week. U.S. consumer confidence bounced back in March, according to a report from business research group The Conference Board.
The Commerce Department will release its February report for personal income and spending on Thursday and the Labor Department will release its employment report for March on Friday.
With files from the Canadian Press