FILE- In this March 5, 2019, file photo specialist Matthew Grenier works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 3. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Stocks head higher as S&P 500 closes in on 5-day win streak

April 03, 2019 - 1:40 pm

Technology companies helped drive stocks on Wall Street to solid gains Wednesday afternoon, placing the market on track for a strong rebound after a flat finish a day earlier.

Chipmakers led the gainers in the technology sector. Advanced Micro Devices jumped 10.2% and Micron Technology climbed 4.6%.

Energy stocks lagged the market as crude oil prices headed lower. Shares in consumer goods companies also declined as traders moved toward riskier holdings, signaling more confidence in economic growth.

Traders shrugged off a new report from payroll processor ADP showing private U.S. businesses added 129,000 jobs last month, down from the previous month's gain of 197,000.

The U.S. and China resumed negotiations Wednesday to end a trade war that has raised prices on goods for both consumers and companies. Investors hope that the world's two largest economies can agree to pull back on some of those tariffs and move toward a more stable trading partnership.

Markets have swayed for months as the contentious talks drag on. The latest reports say that both sides have resolved most of the key issues, with some pledges from China to end practices viewed by the U.S. as technology theft.

Investors were also keeping a close watch on Britain's messy departure from the European Union and a new round of corporate earnings results set to begin next week. The overall forecast is for a weak round of results, with earnings by S&P 500 companies expected to contract by 4 percent, according to FactSet.

Delta will kick off the earnings results for airlines early next week, with JPMorgan and Wells Fargo leading bank earnings later in the week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 67 points, or 0.3%, to 26,246 as of 1:25 p.m. Eastern Time. The S&P 500 index gained 0.5%, on track for a five-day winning streak. The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, climbed 0.9%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 0.8%.

Major indexes in Europe also rose.

WEAK GAME: Video game retailer GameStop fell 2.7% after reporting weak first-quarter sales, with more of the same likely for the year. It expects sales to fall as much as 10% this year and would not give investors a profit forecast. The stock has lost about two-thirds of its value since 2015 as revenue declines while gamers bypass retail shops for games that can be bought and played online.

MORE EATING, DRINKING AND PLAYING: Dave & Buster's added 3.8% after the restaurant and arcade operator beat fourth-quarter forecasts. A key sales figure jumped and also beat forecasts as the company attracted more business with the addition of a virtual reality game platform.

NEW INGREDIENT: Blue Apron, which delivers ready-to-make meal kits, gained 8.4% as it changes leadership. CEO Bradley Dickerson resigned and is being replaced by former Etsy executive Linda Kozlowski. The company has been struggling since it went public in June 2017. Its stock is down about 90 percent since then.

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AP Business Writer Damian J. Troise contributed to this story.

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