US STOCKS-Wall St turns higher as Trump likely to delay auto tariffs

Reuters

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    * U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fall in April
    * Automakers rise 1% on tariff news
    * Agilent declines after quarterly results disappoint
    * Indexes up: Dow 0.16%, S&P 0.27%, Nasdaq 0.65%

 (Changes comment, updates prices)
    By Amy Caren Daniel and Sruthi Shankar
    May 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks reversed course to trade
higher on Wednesday after a report that President Donald Trump
may delay a decision to impose auto tariffs, offering respite to
markets worried about slowing global growth after a batch of
weak economic data.
    The deadline to decide on tariffs is May 18, but Trump is
expected to delay it by up to six months, sources told Reuters.
Automakers Ford Motor Co  F.N , and General Motors Co  GM.N 
gained about 1% on the news.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N22R0RO
    Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he will
likely travel to Beijing soon to continue trade talks with
China.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N22R0O9
    "We got some support from Mnuchin comments and then auto
tariffs, that is a positive development as there was fear that
tariffs would stretch to auto imports," said Paul Brigandi,
managing director of portfolio management at Direxion Funds in
New York.
    "Between now and June, when the G20 meeting happens, unless
something is resolved, we're in for a period of high
volatility." 
    Stocks came under pressure earlier in the day after U.S.
retail sales unexpectedly fell in April as households cut back
on purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods,
indicating a moderation in economic activity. 
    Worries about slowing growth were reinforced by a drop in
industrial production last month.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N22R0EG
    Data from China also showed surprisingly weak growth in
retail sales and industrial output for April, adding pressure on
the country to roll out more stimulus.
    The weak data hit U.S. Treasury yields and the interest rate
sensitive banking stocks  .SPXBK  fell 1.01%. The broader
financial sector  .SPSY  dropped 0.56%, the most among the major
11 S&P sectors.
    Concerns that the trade dispute could be protracted and may
impact the global economy have kept investors on the edge over
the past couple of days, with the benchmark S&P index now 3.9%
below its all-time high reached two weeks ago.
    At 11:09 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI  was
up 40.71 points, or 0.16%, at 25,572.76, the S&P 500  .SPX  was
up 7.76 points, or 0.27%, at 2,842.17 and the Nasdaq Composite
 .IXIC  was up 50.19 points, or 0.65%, at 7,784.69.
    Technology stocks  .SPLRCT  jumped 0.7%, providing the
biggest boost to markets. A more than 2% gain in shares of
Facebook Inc  FB.O  and Alphabet Inc  GOOG.O  lifted the
communication services index  .SPLRCL  by 1.3%, the most among
major 11 S&P sectors. 
    Agilent Technologies Inc's  A.N  shares fell 9.9%, the most
on the S&P 500, after the medical equipment maker reported
quarterly results below estimates.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N22R3WW
    Perrigo Company Plc  PRGO.N  dropped 1.5% as Jefferies
lowered its price target on the generic drugmaker after the
company's recent move to divest its higher margin generic pet
care business.
    Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.18-to-1 ratio
on the NYSE and a 1.06-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
    The S&P index recorded 12 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows,
while the Nasdaq recorded 46 new highs and 49 new lows.

 (Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru;
Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Arun Koyyur)
 ((Amy.CarenDaniel@thomsonreuters.com ; within U.S.
+1-646-223-8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 9250 ; Reuters
Messaging: Amy.CarenDaniel.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net;))

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