May 21, 2018
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US stocks climb in early trading

Richard Drew | AP
Richard Drew | AP
Trader Robert Arciero works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Feb. 9, 2018.
By Renae Merle, The Washington Post

U.S. stocks bounced higher Monday after two weeks of brutal trading that have wiped out trillions of dollars in market value.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed more than 450 points, or 1.84 percent, in early afternoon trading. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq were both up more than 1.5 percent.

But those benchmark indices remain far from the record highs that had dazzled investors for more than a year. The S&P has lost about 10 percent and $2.5 trillion in value since late January.

U.S. investors have been torn between enthusiasm for the massive tax cut passed by Congress last year that could provide a huge stimulus to an economy already at full employment and growing fears that interest rates will jump as the federal government borrows massive amounts to cover its growing deficits.

The Dow swung more than 1,000 points, about 4 percent on Friday, capping one of the worst weeks on Wall Street since the global financial crisis. Investors, who in January set a monthly record for sinking money into equity funds, pulled their money out at a record pace in the week ending Feb. 7, according to EPFR, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, data firm that has tracked such information since 2000.

The rise in stock prices Monday is giving some investors hope that the worst may be over. After repeatedly breaking records, investors had pushed stock prices too high and it was time for a correction, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth. “The market was probably 10 to 15 percent overvalued and we got a 10 percent correction,” said Ablin, who added that he moved one client into the stock market on Friday.

The mood of traders this week could hinge on the expected release of President Donald Trump’s new budget plan on Monday. The plan is expected to call for a range of spending cuts that reduce the growth of the deficit but it will not attempt to balance the federal budget, according to The Washington Post. Trump is also expected to unveil a plan to spend $1.5 trillion on the country’s ailing infrastructure over the next decade. On Wednesday, traders are also expected to react to new data on inflation.

Overseas, markets were also generally rising as well. Japan’s Nikkei was closed Monday, but other indexes in Asia were holding their own. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.9 percent. Europe’s exchanges were up more than 1 percent, across the board. Germany’s benchmark DAX index rose 1.5 percent on Monday.

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