Stock market aims for records as China says it will slash tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods

U.S. stocks closed higher Thursday, seizing a fresh round of records, after the market got another shot of confidence from promised trade tariff reductions.

How did benchmarks fare?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.94% closed up 88.92 points, or 0.3%, to settle at 29,379.77, after carving out a intraday record at 29,408.05. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.54% rose 11.09 points, or 0.3% to settle at 3,345.78. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.54% advanced 63.47 points, or 0.7% to settle at 9,572.15. All three indexes closed at new records.

For the week, the Dow was up 4%, the S&P 500 index gained 3.7%, and the Nasdaq was 4.6% higher.

What drove the market?

Signs of further progress in Sino-American trade relations were credited for positive sentiment early Thursday. A viral outbreak thought to have originated in Wuhan City, China, and has thus far claimed more than 560 lives, infecting more than 28,000, meanwhile, has been shoved in to the back burner in the minds of equity investors.

Coronavirus update: 565 deaths, more than 28,000 cases worldwide, Yum China reports ‘significant interruption’

China said that beginning Feb. 14 it would cut in half tariffs on some $75 billion of U.S. imports, as part of its phase-one trade resolution with the U.S., according to China’s Ministry of Finance.

Tariffs on an array of U.S. goods will be reduced from 10% to 5%, and from 5% to 2.5% on others, the ministry said. Retaliatory import levies were imposed in September and December as animosities between the Washington and Beijing intensified.

The ministry said the move was made “in order to promote the healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. economic and trade relations,” according to a translation of the statement.

“China cutting tariffs is a driver of today’s gains,” said J.J. Kinahan, chief

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