FILE- In this March 7, 2019, file photo specialist Anthony Rinaldi, left, and trader Michael Urkonis work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Friday, March 29. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

US stocks extend gains in morning trading; Lyft debuts

March 29, 2019 - 12:03 pm

Stocks moved higher on Wall Street Friday morning, extending the market's gains from a day earlier as investors closed out the first quarter.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was on track to end the January-March quarter with its best gain in nearly 10 years. The S&P technology sector powered much of those gains, climbing more than 18 percent over the last three months.

All eyes were on Lyft, which made its stock market debut shortly before midday at $87.24 per share. The shares were up 19 percent within minutes of their debut, exceeding the San Francisco company's own expectations.

Bond yields rose for the second straight day, allaying traders' concerns following a steep drop in long-term yields over the past week. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.42 percent from 2.39 percent late Thursday.

Technology, industrials and health care stocks accounted for much of the market's early gains. Western Digital rose 4.7 percent, Delta Air Lines added 2.2 percent and Celgene jumped 6.8 percent.

Banks also rose, benefiting from the pickup in bond yields. That helps lenders earn more income from the bonds they hold and allows them to charge higher interest rates on loans. Credit card issuer Discover Financial was up 0.7 percent.

The latest gains followed a broad rally in global stocks as investors hoped for progress in the U.S.-Chinese trade talks. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the U.S.-China trade talks "constructive" and said in a tweet Friday that he looked forward to continuing the talks in Washington next week.

Officials from the world's two biggest economies are aiming to put to rest a dispute over technology and other issues. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is expected to travel to Washington next week.

British lawmakers voted Friday to reject Prime Minister Theresa May's plan to leave the European Union, leaving the date and terms of the U.K.'s departure from the bloc uncertain. Britain now has until April 12 to tell the EU what it plans to do next. It must cancel Brexit, seek a longer delay or crash out of the bloc without a deal.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 161 points, or 0.6 percent, to 25,878 as of 11:41 a.m. Eastern Time. The S&P 500 index gained 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq composite added 0.7 percent. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 0.2 percent.

Major indexes in Europe were also headed higher. Key indexes in Asia closed sharply higher.

BIG RECOVERY: The U.S. stock market rebounded strongly in the first quarter after closing out 2018 with a steep sell-off that left the S&P 500 14 percent lower.

The Federal Reserve sparked the rebound after the central bank decided to take a more patient approach to further interest rate hikes. The move reassured investors, who'd worried that the Fed would continue to raise rates amid signs of a slowing global economy.

The first-quarter's strength helped prolong the bull market for U.S. stocks, which marked its 10th anniversary in March, and is now the longest ever.

The S&P 500 is now up 12.8 percent so far in 2019, the biggest quarterly gain since the third quarter of 2009.

TAKING A RIDE: Lyft's market debut marked the first time a U.S. ride-hailing company was selling shares to the public.

Lyft said it raised more than $2 billion in the IPO, which it plans to use in its heated competition with archrival Uber.

The stock began trading shortly before midday at $87.24 per share and swiftly jumped around 20 percent.

Lyft's IPO represents a watershed moment for ride hailing, an industry hatched from the rise of smartphones.

IN GEAR: CarMax vaulted 8.3 percent after the auto dealership chain's fourth-quarter earnings topped Wall Street's forecasts, even as revenue fell short of expectations.

NOT SITTING WELL: Shares in RH, owner of furniture chain Restoration Hardware, slumped 19.1 percent after the company reported disappointing fourth-quarter revenue. RH's fiscal 2019 outlook also fell well below analysts' expectations.

OUT THE DOOR: Wells Fargo fell 2.1 percent a day after CEO Tim Sloan stepped down.

Sloan, who led the company for less than three years, said he's become too much of a target for politicians, including many Democrats who've questioned the bank's efforts to compensate customers affected by its bad sales practices.

During Sloan's rocky tenure the troubled bank dealt with a seemingly unending wave of scandals.

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