U.S. stocks rose slightly on Tuesday, propped up by a rise in technology stocks, but the likelihood of a protracted trade war between the United States and China kept investors on edge.
Trump on Monday said he was "not yet ready" to make a deal with China but he expected one in the future. The back-and-forth on tariffs between the two sides has sparked worries that the trade war would lead to a global economic slowdown.
"There is not a lot of news and not a lot of hope on U.S.-China trade at the moment, but it's also not getting worse so that is what is helping the markets," said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Seattle.
The uncertainty has pushed investors toward safe-haven assets, which resulted in benchmark U.S. Treasury yields dropping to its lowest level since October 2017.
The rate-sensitive banking sector dropped 0.26%, while the broader financial sector fell 0.09% and weighed on the S&P 500 index.
"What you're seeing is kind of an over-sold bounce, we'll see over the course of the day if that holds," said Michael Antonelli, market strategist at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.
The benchmark S&P 500 index as of Friday's close was about 4% away from its record high hit on May 1, while the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial index posted its fifth straight week of decline.
The technology sector, which is among the worst performing S&P sectors this month, rose 0.66%, helped by a 6.1% jump in Total System Services Inc.
Global Payments Inc said it would buy the payment technology company for about $21.5 billion in stock. Its shares declined 1.7%.
Markets were also helped by gains in marquee stocks, including Facebook Inc, Amazon.com, Netflix and Microsoft Corp, which rose over 1% each.
At 12:14 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 31.07 points, or 0.12%, at 25,616.76. The S&P 500 was up 5.40 points, or 0.19%, at 2,831.46 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 37.34 points, or 0.49%, at 7,674.35.
Among other stocks, Activision Blizzard Inc rose 3.6% after Goldman Sachs upgraded its shares to "buy" and said the videogame publisher would benefit from its recent releases.
Advanced Micro Devices jumped 10.5% and also helped lift the tech sector, after the chipmaker launched new computing and graphics products on Sunday. Rival Intel Corp fell 2.0%.
FedEx Corp slipped 0.8% after Huawei Technologies Co Ltd said it is reviewing its relationship with the U.S. package delivery company, after it diverted two parcels destined for Huawei addresses in Asia to the United States.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.08-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.05-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 17 new 52-week highs and 10 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 44 new highs and 83 new lows.