Market Update: Dow Notches Eighth Straight Gain as U.S.-China Tensions Ease

U.S. stocks advanced Monday, with the Dow notching its eighth consecutive gain amid hopes that a trade war between China and the U.S. could be averted.

Stocks Continue Higher

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68.24 points, or 0.3%, to close at 24,899.41. That was its highest settlement in about two months.

The technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.1% to settle at 7,411.32.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.1% 2,730.13, with four of 11 primary sectors reporting gains.

Despite the gains, all major indexes settled well below daily highs. Though the bulk of earnings season is behind us, investors are still awaiting reports from three major Dow blue-chip this week.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX rose on Monday but continued to trade well below the historic mean. The so-called “fear index” closed at 12.93 on a scale of 1-100 where 20 represents the historic average.

Wall Street’s industrial benchmarks are coming off one of their best weeks since January thanks to upbeat earnings and tamer than expected inflation. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq each returned more than 2% for the week.

Trump Extends Olive Branch to China

President Trump announced Sunday that he would help technology firm ZTE get back to business after a U.S. ban on the smartphone giant forced major restructuring plans. The company was forced to shut “major operating activities” as a result of Trump’s protectionist policies, which included stiff import tariffs on Chinese good as well as a seven-year export ban on ZTE.

“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

Trump’s conciliatory approach sent a strong signal to investors that trade tensions between the U.S. and China were thawing. Fear of an all-out trade war between the two superpowers sent global stock prices spiraling in the first quarter.

Cryptocurrencies Stabilize

Digital currency prices stabilized on Monday following a series of dramatic moves over the weekend. The total market cap for all cryptocurrencies reached $410 billion on Monday as trade volumes returned above $24 billion.

Bitcoin traded around $8,808 Monday afternoon, where it was up 1.2% from 24 hours ago. Prices peaked at $8,825 earlier in the day. At current prices, bitcoin accounts for roughly 36.6% of the total cryptocurrency market, according to CoinMarketCap.

Ethereum prices tread water near $737. Ripple XRP was little changed at $0.754.

Market prices plunged to a low of $366 billion on Saturday as investors awaited the fallout from South Korea’s raid of Upbit, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges. The market rebounded more than $25 billion on Sunday.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi