San Francisco: Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. fuelled a second straight session of gains on Wall Street on Monday, as the resumption of US-China trade talks helped ease concerns that have pummelled the market in recent months.

The benchmark S&P 500’s advance added to a 3.4% surge on Friday, when strong US jobs data eased worries over the economy and remarks by the Federal Reserve head calmed investors nervous that interest rate hikes would crimp growth.

Fears of a global slowdown have led to a sharp pullback in the markets over the last few months and in analysts’ estimates for corporate growth. But after hitting a 20-month low on Christmas Eve, the S&P has gained over 9%.

China has the “good faith" to work with the United States to resolve trade frictions, China’s foreign ministry said, while US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said he saw “a very good chance that we will get a reasonable settlement" as the two countries started their first face-to-face talks since a 90-day truce was agreed in December.

“The main thing is the administration’s implied progress on talks with China. That’s something that the market sees as very important," said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey.

Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors rose. The consumer discretionary index was the biggest gainer, jumping 2.36%, led by a 3.44% rise in Amazon. That made Amazon Wall Street’s most valuable company a $797 billion, eclipsing Microsoft Corp’s market capitalization, which reached $784 billion following a 0.13% rise in its stock. Video-streaming service Netflix, the second-largest contributor to the S&P 500’s increase on Monday, climbed 5.97%.

Those companies and other high-profile technology and consumer stocks have rebounded after falling sharply in the final quarter of 2018.

Much of Monday’s upbeat sentiment was an extension of Friday’s rally.

“The news on Friday was positive, and market participants are now acting more confident, and that is feeding on itself," said Tom Martin, a portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta.

The S&P energy index gained 1.29% as oil prices rose on support from OPEC production cuts.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index, which includes many companies dependent on China for revenue, jumped 1.95%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.42% to end at 23,531.35 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.70% to 2,549.69. The Nasdaq Composite added 1.26% to 6,823.47.

The Russell 2000 index of small companies rose 1.78%, bringing its gain over the past two sessions to 5.60%.

The utilities index dipped 0.71%, dragged lower by PG&E Corp’s 22% slump. Reuters reported that the California utility is exploring filing for bankruptcy protection related to potential liabilities from wildfires.

With earnings season approaching, investors expect a slowdown in fourth-quarter profit growth, and they will scrutinize forecasts for signs of further weakness.

Analysts now estimate S&P 500 companies to increase their fourth-quarter earnings per share by 15%. That compares with expectations of 20% growth three months ago, according to Refinitiv IBES data. The estimate for 2019 profit growth has fallen to about 7% from 10%.

Dollar Tree In. jumped 5.46% after activist investor Starboard Value LP called on the retailer to sell its underperforming Family Dollar business and proposed replacing a majority of its board.

Loxo Oncology Inc. surged 66.33% after Eli Lilly and Co. said it would buy the cancer drug developer for about $8 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 3.69-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 3.05-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 28 new highs and 16 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 8.1 billion shares, compared to the 9.0 billion average over the last 20 trading days.

Reuters’s Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru contributed to this story.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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