Wall Street soars high on Apple-led rally in technology shares

Sept 30 – Technology stocks lifted Wall Street’s main indexes on Monday, led by Apple. Investors looked past reports that Washington was considering delisting Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges.

Apple Inc rose 1.3% as CEO Tim Cook told Bild, a German daily that iPhone sales were off to a strong start, and JP Morgan raised its iPhone shipment volume forecast. Microsoft Corp also climbed 0.4%.

Gaining 0.6%, the technology sector was the highest gainer among 11 major S&P sectors. Only energy stocks were down, on account of a drop in oil prices.

With sentiment swinging wildly due to mixed indications from domestic economic data and developments in the U.S.-China trade war, the main indexes were on course to end the quarter with their worst performance so far this year.

Amidst reports that the US was curbing Chinese companies’ access to U.S. capital markets, a sell-off was sparked on Friday, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 hitting a more than three-week low during the session.

However, Peter Navarro, White House trade adviser, dismissed the reports as “fake news”, on Monday. “If the U.S. goes down this road, it could have some serious repercussions,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.

“It could possibly lead to the Chinese selling U.S. Treasuries and could put pressure on the Treasury market, so it needs to be well thought out before being executed.”

China was the second-largest owner of U.S. Treasuries in July, just behind Japan. However, its holdings were the smallest since April 2017.

U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Baidu Inc, and JD.com Inc were up between 1% and 2.2%.

Q3 witnessed an increase in U.S-China trade tensions, along with the inversion of an important part of the U.S. yield curve, political turmoil in Washington and a second U.S. interest rate cut.

The Nasdaq is heading for a marginal decline while the S&P 500 and Dow are on track for their smallest percentage gain in three quarters. The benchmark index is now about 2% away from its record high hit in July.