NEW YORK — Stocks shook off an early slump and marched higher in afternoon trading Wednesday, led by solid gains in Microsoft, Facebook and Google.
The flip-flop marked the latest reversal for a stock market that has been whipsawed by worries over the worsening trade relationship between China and the U.S. and the fallout it may have on the broader global economy. The market plunged Monday, bounced back Tuesday and see-sawed Wednesday.
Major carmakers turned higher following media reports that the U.S. is planning to delay new tariffs on car and auto part imports from Europe. The proposed tariffs would add another front to U.S. trade disputes and increase investors’ anxiety.
Both European and U.S. automakers stand to suffer from retaliatory tariff increases that would cut into international sales. Ford rose 1.3%, Fiat Chrysler rose 1.4% and General Motors rose 0.8%.
Banks were still lower following a steep drop in bond yields. Bond prices rose sharply, sending yields lower, after some surprisingly disappointing economic data in the U.S. including weak figures on retail sales and industrial production.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which is used to set rates on many kinds of loans including mortgages, fell to 2.37% from 2.42% late Tuesday, a large move.
That drop in yields hurts banks because it cuts into profit from interest on loans. Bank of America fell 1% and Citigroup fell 0.5%.
Technology stocks were mixed. Microsoft rose 1.1%, but chipmakers, which are heavily dependent on China for sales, remained weak. Nvidia fell 1.3%.
Safe-play stocks held up well. Real estate companies and makers of consumer products rose. PepsiCo