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Wall Street Opens Higher as Bond Yields Tumble; Tesla Weighs; Dow Up 290 Pts

By Geoffrey Smith -- U.S. stock markets opened higher on Monday amid growing expectations that the slowdown visible in the U.S. and world economies will force the Federal Reserve to stop raising U.S. interest rates.

Those hopes have driven a sharp rally (juiced by short-covering) in government bonds over the last week, driving benchmark Treasury yields down all along the yield curve. By the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.68%, down another 12 basis points from Friday's close and down 34 basis points from last week's peak. The 2-year yield, more sensitive to expectations of Fed action, was flat from Friday at 4.12%, but still down nearly a quarter-point from its peak.

Fresh signs of a U.S. slowdown gave an ex-post validation to the move, as the Institute for Supply Management confirmed that manufacturing activity expanded at the slowest rate in nearly two and a half years in September. The ISM's purchasing managers index fell by more than expected to 50.9 from 52.8 in August, with declines in all of the major subindices - new orders, employment and prices paid.

By 09:35 ET (13:35 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 290 points, or 1.0%, at 29,015 points. The S&P 500 was up 0.8% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.4%. The Nasdaq was underperforming after some disappointing news from Tesla

(NASDAQ:TSLA), which said its third quarter deliveries were around 4% below consensus forecasts, despite rebounding to a new record of nearly 344,000. CEO Elon Musk lamented the problems of getting sufficient transportation capacity to meet the company's usual surge in shipments at the end of the quarter. The shortfall makes it less likely that Tesla will meet its stated target of increasing production by 50% this year.

Tesla stock gapped down 7.4% to its lowest since mid-July.

Going in the other direction was Viasat (NASDAQ:VSAT) stock, which soared 21% after agreeing to sell its Link 16 Tactical Data Links (TDL) business to L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) for $1.96 billion. The sale is expected to result in cash proceeds to Viasat of approximately $1.8 billion net after estimated taxes, fees, and other expenses. L3Harris stock rose 2.0%.

Elsewhere, oil and gas stocks were lifted by reports suggesting that OPEC and its allies will slash output from November in an effort to shore up prices as demand weakens. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) stock rose 3.5%, Occidental (NYSE:OXY) stock rose 4.5%, and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) stock rose 4.2%.

The biggest gainer in the oil and gas space was, however, Petróleo Brasileiro Petrobras (NYSE:PBR), which rose 11.1% after the first round of voting in Brazil's presidential election resulted in a far stronger performance than expected by incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. That prevented his leftist opponent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from winning an outright majority in the first round which some feared may have been taken as a mandate to renew the milking of Petrobras by government cronies that happened under Lula's last term in office.

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