S&P 500 near record high after US, China trade deal; banks disappoint

US President Donald Trump said he would remove all US tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as the two countries complete the Phase 2 trade agreement, on which negotiations will start soon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.31 per cent to 29,030.22 points, ending above 29,000 for the first time. The S&P 500 gained 0.19 per cent to 3,289.3, its highest ever close. The Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.08 per cent to 9,258.70, just short of its record high close set on Monday.

Wall Street indexes came off their record highs hit earlier in the session, with disappointing earnings updates from Bank of America and Goldman Sachs weighing on the S&P 500 banking sector which fell 2.1 per cent.

Bank of America Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, but warned of weak net interest income in the first half of 2020, knocking its shares down 1.8 per cent.

Goldman Sachs slipped 0.2 per cent after reporting a bigger-than-expected fall in profit as it set aside more money to cover legal costs.

In other earnings-related news, UnitedHealth Group, the largest US health insurer, rose 2.8 per cent as it affirmed its full-year outlook for 2020 adjusted earnings. The healthcare sector, up 0.8 per cent, was a top gainer among the 11 S&P subsectors.

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Retailer Target slumped 6.6 per cent after it missed its own expectations for 2019 holiday season sales after reporting a drop in online growth and demand for toys and electronics.

Toymakers Mattel and Hasbro fell 4.6 per cent and 2.1 per cent, respectively, while electronics seller Best Buy dropped 1.7 per cent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.35-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.31-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 74 new 52-week highs and no new lows;

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