Banking shares strong as US stocks gain

New York: Wall Street stocks rose early Wednesday, looking past lingering trade war fears, as banking shares gained in expectation that higher interest rates would boost profits.

About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 24,902.11, up 0.4 percent.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.2 percent to 2,753.28, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 0.1 percent to 7,647.08, adding to Tuesday’s record.

Investors in US stocks in recent weeks have absorbed a series of aggressive trade actions and statements from President Donald Trump’s administration that have generated retaliatory moves from Mexico, Canada and other allies that many fear could spiral into an all-out trade war.

At the same time, US economic data has remained fairly strong, keeping stocks from dropping too low.

Large banks, such as Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, were up more than one percent as US 10-year Treasury yields advanced closer to 3.0 percent in anticipation of more Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

Tesla Motors surged 5.1 percent as chief executive Elon Musk expressed confidence that the company would reach production targets for its Model 3 sedan.

US Steel gained 2.6 percent after announcing it would restart a blast furnace in Granite City, Illinois, hiring 300 new workers. The company also said it expects full-year operating earnings at or near the high end of its previously announced range.