U.S. stocks finished broadly higher Tuesday as investors grew more optimistic about the prospects for a resolution to the costly trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
Technology, financial and health care stocks powered much of the rally, which gave the benchmark S&P 500 index its biggest gain this month and a three-day winning streak. The wave of buying also drove a 372-point gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, ending the average's four-day run of losses.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he might let a March 2 deadline slide in trade talks with China if the two countries get close to a deal. Trump also said he's not inclined to extend the deadline, but might let it "slide for a little while" if talks go well. Earlier, the White House had called March 2 a "hard deadline."
Both nations are trying to reach a deal before March 1. That's when additional tariffs will kick in, escalating the conflict and further hurting companies and consumers with higher prices on materials and products.
"Any deal would help alleviate some of the uncertainty," said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior markets strategist at Voya Investment Management. "The GDP hasn't been dinged that much from the trade tariffs, it's really been the uncertainty. It's spilling over into business plans and that's a hurdle for growth."
The S&P 500 index gained 34.93 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,744.73. The Dow climbed 372.65 points, or 1.5 percent, to 25,425.76. The index was briefly up by 405 points.
The Nasdaq composite rose 106.71 points, or 1.5 percent, to 7,414.62. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks, which has been leading the other indexes this year, added 19.25 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,538.23.
European markets finished higher.
Stocks got an early boost Tuesday after lawmakers in Washington reached a tentative deal to avoid another partial government shutdown. The agreement on border security involves far less money for a wall than the White House wanted, and it's not clear whether President Donald Trump will support the deal.
Still, the move alleviated some uncertainty for the market as the U.S. and China continue trade negotiations, which resumed Monday.
Fears of a global slowdown still linger. Europe and China have both reported slower growth. Those concerns have dimmed the outlook for corporate earnings growth this year.