Stocks finished higher on Thursday, as investors assessed China’s willingness to stabilize the Yuan. Officials in Beijing set the currency’s rate at a stronger figure than most analysts had expected, which seemingly eased concerns that trade tensions between the U.S. and China would escalate. The Dow added 371 points. The S&P 500 gained 1.9% and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 2.2%, putting both benchmarks in positive territory for the week.
Investor sentiment was further boosted after a report showed Chinese exports unexpectedly rebounded in July. Meanwhile, perceived “safe-haven” assets stabilized. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note yield was down just one basis point to 1.71%, after trading as low as 1.59% on Wednesday. COMEX gold dipped 0.3% to $1,503.50/ounce, coming off its six-year high reached yesterday. On the data front, initial jobless claims fell to 209,000 in the most recent week from an upwardly revised 217,000 in the prior period.
All 11 S&P 500 sectors added more than 1% in the session. Energy stocks paced the gains, as WTI crude rebounded 3.3% to $52.76/barrel. Technology shares also outperformed, with Advanced Micro Devices soaring more than 16% after positive commentary around the release of its second generation processor chip. In earnings, shares of American International Group climbed 4.4% after the insurer topped Wall Street earnings projections. Kraft Heinz fell 8.8% after revealing steep declines in sales for the first half of the year. In M&A news, Symantec Corp surged 12.3% amid reports Broadcom is in the final stages of acquiring the cyber-security firm’s enterprise business.