US stocks gain on better trade talk buzz

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen on Wall Street in New York City, November 4, 2019. — AFP pic

NEW YORK, Dec 4 — Wall Street stocks rose early today on upbeat reports on US-China trade talks, while expectations for a stronger Opec agreement boosted petroleum-linked shares.

Analysts cited a Bloomberg News report that characterised Washington and Beijing as near finalising a partial trade agreement that would avert new tariffs threatened for later this month.

Worries about the talks have pressured stocks in recent days, leading to three straight declines.

Meanwhile, other reports characterised the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries as trending towards a production agreement to cut production further to boost oil prices.

Shares of petroleum producers including Exxon Mobil and Chevron rose.

About 25 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 27,704.19, a gain of 0.7 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 also rose 0.7 per cent to 3,116.08, along with the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, which was at 8,579.14.

The positive signs on trade and oil prices offset a disappointing hiring report from payroll firm ADP, which estimated November private-sector hiring at just 67,000, well below expectations.

Among individual companies, Google-parent Alphabet climbed 1.6 per cent as the company announced that co-founder Larry Page was stepping down as chief executive and would be replaced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Expedia shot up 5.2 per cent as it announced the resignations of chief executive Mark Okerstrom and chief financial officer Alan Pickerill because of strategic differences.

Expedia Chairman Barry Diller said the board disagreed with the two executives’ view anticipating slowing growth in 2020 and that the board expects to accelerate growth next year.

The company boosted its share buyback program and Diller said he would personally acquire shares “as a tangible

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