Stocks jump as China-U.S. trade talks come into focus

U.S. stocks headed higher Wednesday morning, as China and the U.S. attempted to ease simmering tensions, a day before high-level trade takes are scheduled to commence.

Investors also will watch for the minutes later this afternoon of the Federal Reserve’s September policy meeting last month to gather clues on the outlook for interest rates.

How are benchmarks performing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.59%   was 160 points, or 0.6%, higher at mid-morning, at 26,322.55. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.77% gained 21 points to reach 2,914.68, up more than 0.7%, while the Nasdaq COMP, +0.95%   added 68 points, or 0.9%, at 7,891.90.

On Tuesday, the Dow DJIA, +0.59% retreated 313.98 points, or 1.2%, to 26,164.04, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.77% gave up 45.73 points, or 1.6%, to 2,893.06. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.95% retreated 132.52 points, or 1.7%, to finish at 7,865.

What’s driving the stock market?

Equity markets were boosted by reports that infused some optimism about the possibility of at least a partial U.S. – China trade deal.

A report from Bloomberg News indicated that China was open to a limited tariff resolution with the U.S., while another from the Financial Times (paywall) indicated that China has offered to increase by 50% purchases of agricultural products from U.S. farmers to $50 billion.

The reports come after the U.S. State Department on Tuesday announced visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials who are believed to be involved in abuse of Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, China. That announcement came after the U.S. blacklisted some 28 entities for the same alleged violations, prompting Beijing to reportedly consider rolling out its own visa restrictions on U.S. nationals, according to Reuters.

A representative from China’s Ministry of Commerce said: “We strongly

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