Stocks rise at the open on trade optimism, head for strong weekly gains – CNBC

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Stocks rose on Friday as investors cheered renewed optimism on the U.S.-China trade front. Wall Street also headed for strong gains for the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 40 points higher, led by a rise in Intel shares. The S&P 500 climbed 0.1 percent as the tech and consumer discretionary sectors outperformed. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3 percent.

Gains were kept in check, however, after data showed industrial production rose 0.1 percent in February. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected an expansion of 0.3 percent.

Equities headed for strong weekly gains on Friday as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were up more than 2 percent each through Thursday’s close. The Dow was up 1 percent, lagging its large-cap counterparts as steep losses in Boeing weighed on the 30-stock index.

This week’s gains were largely led by tech shares, as the sector surged 4 percent. The tech sector also became the best-performer of 2019. Nvidia is the best-performing stock in the sector, rising more than 12 percent while fellow semiconductor stocks like Broadcom and Lam Research also rose sharply this week.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke via telephone with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Xinhua news agency reported Friday. The report, according to The South China Morning Post, said: “The two sides have further made concrete progress on the text of the trade agreement between the two sides.”

The news comes after CNBC reported Thursday that Chinese negotiators suggest combining a state visit to the U.S. with the signing of a trade deal. Beijing wants a deal to be fully ironed out before President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“US-China trade negotiations will likely reach a temporary deal, transforming future negotiations into a framework to monitor China’s compliance with trade and intellectual property policies,” Alberto Gallo, head of macro strategies at Algebris Investments, wrote in a note. He added, however, that “binary events” like this “may not translate into tail risks.”

AT&T shares rose 1 percent after Raymond James upgraded the telecommunications giant to outperform from market perform, citing an attractive valuation relative to rival Verizon. “We believe that the combination of positive earnings growth and delivering over the course of the year will being investors back to AT&T,” analyst Frank Louthan said in a note.

—CNBC’s Sam Meredith contributed to this report.