Stocks have fluctuated over the course of the session on Friday but are mostly higher in mid-day trading. While the Dow briefly dipped below the unchanged line earlier in the session, the blue chip index has rejoined the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 in positive territory.
In recent trading, the major averages have reached new highs for the session. The Dow is up 153.49 points or 0.6 percent at 25,863.43, the Nasdaq is up 67.95 points or 0.9 percent at 7,698.86 and the S&P 500 is up 16.28 points or 0.6 percent at 2,824.76.
The strength on Wall Street comes amid optimism about U.S.-China trade talks as well as indications of more Chinese economic stimulus.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged support for the slowing economy during his annual news conference at the end of the National People’s Congress.
Li said the country could use reserve requirements and interest rates to prevent a sharper deceleration in the world’s second-largest economy.
However, the positive sentiment was partly offset by a report from the Federal Reserve showing industrial production rose by much less than expected in the month of February.
The Fed said industrial production inched up by 0.1 percent in February after falling by a revised 0.4 percent in January.
Economists had expected production to climb by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.6 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.
The uptick in production came as a spike in utilities output and an increase in mining output was largely offset by a continued drop in manufacturing output.
“The further decline in manufacturing output in February confirms that the global industrial slowdown is now weighing more heavily on U.S. producers,” said Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.
He added, “With tighter fiscal and monetary policy constraining domestic demand, the weaker