January 8, 2019 / 3:29 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall Street gains for third day on signs of trade talk progress

* Trump tweets trade talks with China going ‘very well’

* Trade-sensitive stocks Boeing, Caterpillar boost Dow

* PG&E shares slump after S&P cuts rating to junk

* Indexes: Dow 1.15 pct, S&P 0.93 pct, Nasdaq 0.82 pct (Updates to open)

By Sruthi Shankar

Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, as industrial stocks and Amazon helped extend Wall Street’s rebound for a third day on rising hopes of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

Though little details emerged, a member of the U.S. delegation said the talks will continue for an unscheduled third day.

U.S. President Donald Trump earlier tweeted that the talks were going “very well”.

Trade-sensitive stocks such as Boeing Co and Caterpillar Inc rose more than 2 percent, boosting the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Amazon.com Inc rose 2 percent, adding to Monday’s gains that helped the market power higher and the online retailer overtake Microsoft Corp to become Wall Street’s most valuable company. Microsoft was up 1.2 percent.

Wall Street has surged in the past two days, helped by a strong jobs data and the Federal Reserve chief’s remarks that calmed worries that interest rate hikes would hurt growth.

“With the U.S. and China in talks to de-escalate their trade conflict, the central bank showing a willingness to slow its tightening cycle and the economy still performing well, the markets may be looking a little more attractive,” Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda in London, wrote in a note.

Trade and concerns over slowing economic growth triggered a selloff at the end of 2018 that culminated in Wall Street posting its worst monthly performance in about a decade in December, driving down earnings estimate and stock valuations.

The S&P 500 hit a record high on Sept. 21 before tumbling about 20 percent to a 20-month low on Christmas Eve.

The index has climbed more than 9 percent since then, with investors waiting for the fourth-quarter earnings season to kick off for a clear picture on how the trade war and a global slowdown will affect profits.

Analysts estimate S&P 500 companies to increase their fourth-quarter earnings per share by 14.8 percent. That compares with expectations of 20 percent growth three months ago, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

At 10:06 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 271.57 points, or 1.15 percent, at 23,802.92. The S&P 500 was up 23.77 points, or 0.93 percent, at 2,573.46 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 56.01 points, or 0.82 percent, at 6,879.48.

All the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with industrial , energy and communication services posting gains of more than 1 percent.

The battered technology sector also rose 0.9 percent, led by Microsoft and Apple Inc.

Samsung Electronics’ profit warning due to weak chip demand again turned the spotlight on growth in the sector after Apple rare move to cut sales forecast.

Goldman Sachs said in a note it expects semiconductor companies to face a challenging year, particularly in the first half.

PG&E Corp shares fell about 10.6 percent after S&P Global Ratings stripped the California power utility of its investment-grade credit rating and kept it under review for a further downgrade.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 4.57-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.13-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded no new 52-week highs and 1 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 17 new highs and 9 new lows.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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