* Dow sees biggest percentage gain in more than four months
* Walmart surges on strong results
* China, U.S. to hold trade talks this month
* Boeing, Caterpillar lead industrials higher
* JC Penney plunges on earnings miss
* Indexes up: Dow 1.58 pct, S&P 0.79 pct, Nasdaq 0.42 pct (Updates to market close)
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK, Aug 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rebounded on Thursday with the Dow posting its biggest percentage gain in over four months, as positive earnings and waning trade jitters buoyed investor confidence.
A broad rally pulled all three major U.S. indexes higher following Wednesday’s sell-off.
Walmart Inc shares jumped 9.3 percent after the world’s largest retailer topped earnings estimates and posted its best same-store sales growth in a decade.
Easing trade tensions gave relief to tariff-vulnerable industrials, which led the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s advance. Boeing and Caterpillar ended the session up 4.3 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.
The S&P 500 industrial sector gained 1.2 percent.
Escalating tariff rhetoric cooled down on news that Beijing will send a delegation to Washington to help resolve the growing trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies.
“The market’s getting a boost with some prominent companies coming in with some decent earnings, such as Walmart,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana. “But I think this also shows the schizophrenic nature of the market when short-term market action is pegged so closely to trade wars and tariff talks, especially with China.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 396.32 points, or 1.58 percent, to 25,558.73, the S&P 500 gained 22.32 points, or 0.79 percent, to 2,840.69 and the Nasdaq Composite added 32.41 points, or 0.42 percent, to 7,806.52.
All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 ended the session higher, with telecom and consumer staples posting the largest percentage gains.
Second-quarter reporting season is winding down. With 463 of S&P 500 companies having posted earnings, 79.3 percent have exceeded analyst estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Cisco Systems Inc stock rose 3.0 percent after beating Wall Street revenue and profit targets.
Cyber security firm Symantec Corp ended a five-day slide, advancing 4.6 percent after hedge fund Starboard Value LP bought a 5.8 percent stake in the company.
Among losers, shares of J.C. Penney Co Inc posted an all-time closing low, plunging 27.0 percent after it posted disappointing results and forecast a worse-than-expected full-year loss.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.97-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.40-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 33 new 52-week highs and four new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 91 new highs and 69 new lows.
Volume on U.S. exchanges was 6.39 billion shares, compared with the 6.53 billion-share average for the full session over the last 20 trading days. (Reporting by Stephen Culp; editing by Jonathan Oatis)