S&P wavers with U.S.-China trade talks in focus

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is painted on a wall inside of a Tesla dealership in New York

By Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – The swung between gains and losses on Thursday, but held near six-month highs with support from Boeing (NYSE:) Co and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:), as investors waited for more clarity on the U.S.-China trade talks.

Negotiations continued in Washington after meetings last week in Beijing, as the two countries worked toward resolving their long-standing trade dispute which has cast a shadow over global economic growth.

President Donald Trump is set to meet Vice Premier Liu He, who is leading the Chinese side in the talks later on Thursday.

“The fundamentals are strong enough and the trade talks are offering an added support to the sentiment,” said Kevin Miller, chief investment officer at E-Valuator Funds in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“I do expect that the U.S. will get a trade agreement signed with China and that is going to obviously elevate markets.”

Hopes of a trade deal have driven the S&P 500 to a strong start since the beginning of the quarter and it has closed higher all of this week. The index is near its highest since Oct. 10 and less than 2% away from hitting an all-time high.

However, worries about a global slowdown sapped some enthusiasm. Earlier, data showed German industrial orders in February fell at their sharpest rate in more than two years.

That followed disappointing U.S. services sector activity and private payrolls data on Wednesday. Investors will get a clearer picture of the strength in the labor market when the non-farm payrolls report comes out on Friday.

At 11:47 a.m. ET the was up 153.30 points, or 0.58%, at 26,371.43, the S&P 500 was up 2.65 points, or 0.09%, at 2,876.05

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