By ALEX VEIGA
The Associated Press
Banks and health care companies led stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Thursday, ending a four-day losing streak for the benchmark S&P 500 index.
The gains after a mostly wobbly week of trading reflect cautious optimism on the part of investors ahead of a key trade meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China set for this weekend.
The trade war between the world's two biggest economies remains the biggest source of uncertainty looming over Wall Street. Investors are worried the fallout from the tariffs imposed by both countries on each other's goods could hurt global economic growth and corporate profits.
"Investors are in a wait-and-see mode in advance of the G-20 meetings," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. "The reason we're seeing stocks slightly higher today is they're anticipating that Trump and Xi will at least agree not to impose additional tariffs."
The S&P 500 index rose 11.14 points, or 0.4%, to 2,924.92. The index is up 6.3% for the month, with only one day left of trading in June.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 10.24 points, or less than 0.1%, to 26,526.58. The Nasdaq composite gained 57.79, or 0.7%, to 7,967.76. Smaller company stocks did far better than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks climbed 28.78 points, or 1.9%, to 1,546.55.
Major indexes in Europe ended mixed.
Investors have been mostly looking ahead to this weekend's meeting between Trump and Xi at the Group of 20 summit in Japan.
The meeting marks the first opportunity the two leaders have had to discuss their differences on trade face-to-face since Trump said he was preparing to target the $300 billion in Chinese imports that he hasn't already hit with tariffs, extending them to everything China ships to the United States.
The two sides are in a stalemate after 11 rounds of talks that have failed to overcome U.S. concerns over China's acquisition of American technology and its massive trade surplus. China denies forcing U.S. companies to hand over trade secrets and says the surplus is much smaller than it appears once the trade in services and the value extracted by U.S. companies are taken into account.
Investors are hoping that the meeting between Trump and Xi will restart trade negotiations between the two countries.
Despite worries over trade, investors have mostly pushed stocks higher this month as the Federal Reserve raised expectations that it is prepared to cut interest rates if needed to shield the economy should the damage from the costly trade conflict worsen.