Dow rallies 294 points as Trump reconsiders Pacific pact

Stocks posted strong gains Thursday on news that President Donald Trump was considering rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 293.60 points, or 1.21%, to 24,483.05. The S&P 500 rose 21.8 points to 2,663.99, while the Nasdaq Composite was 71.22 points higher at 7,140.25.

Investors shook off concerns that a missile strike on Syria might be imminent. Trump tweeted that a U.S. attack, in response to a chemical attack in Syria, “could be very soon or not so soon at all.”

Impending bank earnings took center stage, with financial stocks leading the charge higher. The sector was up 1.8% on the day, followed by industrials and technology shares. Investors expect strong first-quarter earnings from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo when they report on Friday. On Thursday, results from BlackRock were released, and they were a solid beat.

Reports that Trump has directed advisers to evaluate the 11-country TPP deal also drove Wall Street’s optimism. Representatives from the agriculture sector, including farmers and ranchers, have grown worried over China’s threat to impose tariffs on soybeans and other products. TPP could be used to pressure China into making economic concessions, experts say.

Tech stocks were also higher following two days of congressional testimony by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Of note, while the tech sector was higher, Facebook’s shares fell 1.5%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
C CITIGROUP INC. 47.23 +1.13 +2.45%
JPM JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. 156.84 +0.76 +0.49%
WFC WELLS FARGO & CO. 45.02 +0.43 +0.96%
FB n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released the minutes from its policy-setting meeting in March. Officials expect to quicken the pace of interest rate hikes over the next few years, as inflation moves closer to the central bank’s 2% target.

Meanwhile, investors digested the latest economic data which included weekly jobless claims and a reading on import prices. Jobless claims dropped by 9,000 to 233,000 in the week ended April 7, with claims hovering near a 45-year low. Import prices were flat.

West Texas Intermediate oil futures rose 25 cents, or 0.4%, to $67.07 a barrel.

Ken Martin contributed to this report.