Stocks eked out a fifth day of gains on Wednesday as U.S.-China trade talks resumed amid hopes that the two sides will soon reach a deal to end the costly tariff conflict between the two largest economies in the world.
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Technology and chip stocks led the gains with the Philadephia Semiconductor index hitting an all time high.
Gains were pared, however, on a report that U.S. private-sector hiring last month grew by less than expected and also a steeper-than-expected decline last month in service-sector activity.
Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany, said trade talks “between China and the U.S. have, for now, produced positive news as a deal has moved closer,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
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Hiring in the U.S. private sector grew by 129,000 jobs in March, according to the ADP National Employment report, missing analyst expectations of 170,000 jobs. February’s tally was revised higher to 197,000 from 183,000.
It marked the slowest employment increase in 18 months, according to Ahu Yildirmaz, the vice president of the ADP Research Institute.
“Although some service sectors showed continued strength, we saw weakness in the goods producing sector,” she said in a statement.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which partners with ADP on the report, said, “The job market is weakening, with employment gains slowing significantly across most industries and company sizes. Businesses are hiring cautiously as the economy is struggling