Wall St ends sharply higher, Treasury yields gain as earnings, data loom

By Stephen Culp

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street jumped and benchmark Treasury yields climbed on Monday as investors embarked upon the first full week of third-quarter earnings while keeping a close eye on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The three major U.S. advanced nearly 1% or more in a broad rally that favored economically sensitive transports, consumer discretionary and small caps.

Israeli forces continued their bombardment of Gaza after efforts to arrange a cease fire stalled as the conflict entered its 10th day.

“It’s a snap-back reaction to the markets,” said Tim Ghriskey, senior portfolio strategist Ingalls & Snyder in New York. “It’s some buying the dip that’s continuing here.”

The Israel-Hamas “conflict appears to be escalating, and that’s not bothering the market at all, and that’s not surprising because investing is buying pieces of companies and rarely has anything to do with geopolitics,” Ghriskey added. “Markets often ignore geopolitics, and that confuses some people.”

A spate of big-bank earnings reports on Friday marked the unofficial beginning of the third-quarter earnings season. The coming week promises to turn up the heat, with Bank of America, Goldman Sachs Group, Netflix, Tesla and a host of heavy-hitting industrials on deck.

Economic data was sparse on Monday, with the New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State index posting a shallower-than-expected decline. Retail sales, industrial production, housing starts and existing-home sales fill out the week’s roster.

“There’s a good possibility that we’ll see a positive earnings season and that companies are doing well despite high interest rates and fears that the Fed is going to continue raising rates,” Ghriskey said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 314.25 points, or 0.93%, to 33,984.54, the S&P 500 gained 45.85 points, or 1.06%, to 4,373.63 and the Nasdaq Composite added 160.75 points, or 1.2%, to 13,567.98.

European stocks advanced, buoyed by financial and mining stocks, while market participants remained risk-averse due to the unfolding conflict in the Middle East.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.23%, and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.71%.

Emerging market stocks lost 0.41%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.56% lower, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 2.03%.

U.S. Treasury yields rose as the government increased debt issuance while an expected Israeli ground invasion of Gaza kept markets in a tentative mood.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 20/32 in price to yield 4.7101%, from 4.629% late on Friday.

The 30-year bond last fell 39/32 in price to yield 4.862%, from 4.779% late on Friday.

The greenback lost ground against a basket of world currencies while Israel’s shekel weakened, briefly touching a key level of four per U.S. dollar for the first time since 2015.

The dollar index fell 0.43%, with the euro up 0.47% to $1.0558.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.01% versus the greenback at 149.54 per dollar, while Sterling was last trading at $1.2215, up 0.61% on the day.

Crude oil prices dipped below $90 per barrel on reports the U.S. could reach a deal to ease sanctions on Venezuela, as traders viewed the Israel-Hamas conflict as having little short-term effect on supply.

U.S. crude dropped 1.2% to settle at $86.66 per barrel, while Brent settled at $89.65 per barrel, down 1.4% on the day.

Gold slid, but held above $1,900 per ounce as the escalating geopolitical tensions kept investors on edge.

Spot gold dropped 0.7% to $1,918.62 an ounce.

(Reporting by Stephen Culp; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft in London; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Leslie Adler and Marguerita Choy)