Trade optimism, Apple push Wall Street slightly higher

U.S. stocks rose slightly on Wednesday as China’s move to ease trade tensions with the United States soothed investor nerves, while shares of Apple gained a day after the launch of its latest iPhones.

Apple Inc rose 1.79% and provided the biggest boost to all three major indexes, a day after it unveiled new iPhones and rolled out a streaming TV service at a price that undercuts Disney and Netflix.

The gains took the Silicon Valley giant’s market valuation just shy of $1 trillion and lifted the wider technology sector .

Adding to the positive momentum, China’s finance ministry exempted 16 types of U.S. goods from additional retaliatory tariffs, ahead of a planned meeting between trade negotiators.

While the move is seen as a friendly gesture to thaw relations with the United States, analysts are skeptical about how much it will move the needle in resolving a trade war that has hurt the global economy.

“The exemption could be seen as a gesture of sincerity towards the US ahead of negotiations in October, but is probably more a means of supporting the (Chinese) economy,” Iris Pang, a Greater China economist with ING, wrote in a note.

Comments from a senior White House adviser on Tuesday urging investors to be patient about resolving the dispute further downplayed expectations that a trade deal would be agreed this year.

Markets were largely subdued as investors held out on big bets ahead of stimulus decisions from central banks to stem a global slowdown. The U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are expected to cut interest rates at their policy meetings over the next two weeks.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday renewed his attacks on Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, saying that the central bank should get interest rates down to “ZERO,

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