China trade talks 'progress' boosts Wall Street

Business Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photo: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid) 16 Mar 2019 07:45AM(Updated: 16 Mar 2019 07:50AM) Share this content

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NEW YORK: Optimism on a US-China trade deal drove Wall Street higher on Friday (Mar 15), with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posting their highest closes since Oct 9.

The major stock indices closed the week with gains, largely recouping the prior week’s losses although the Dow Jones Industrial Average was held lower by Boeing.

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The Dow added 138.93 points (0.54 per cent) to end at 25,848.87, a 1.6 per cent gain for the week.

Meanwhile, the broader S&P 500 rose 14.00 points (0.50 per cent) to finish at 2,822.48, and the Nasdaq added 57.62 points (0.76 per cent), closing at 7,688.53, both posting their strongest weekly gains since November.

China’s official Xinhua news agency reported “substantial progress” occurred in a phone call Beijing’s trade enjoy Liu He held with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“Comments coming from the Chinese side were positive. That helped despite the fact the US president suggested he could walk away from a deal this week,” Quincy Krosby of Prudential Financial told AFP.

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Investors also digested a mixed batch of economic data.

A survey of consumer sentiment overshot forecasts, suggesting consumers may be ready to resume spending after a spell of thriftiness.

But the manufacturing sector’s suffering continued: the Federal Reserve reported US manufacturing output fell sharply for the second month in a row.

And the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s survey of regional activity fell to its lowest level in about two years.

Shares in Boeing gained 1.5 per cent, in part after industry sources told AFP the company planned to install

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