Wall St inches higher on Facebook, Boeing bounce; trade talks in focus

U.S. stocks inched higher on Thursday driven by Facebook Inc and Boeing Co, adding to gains following a strong start to the quarter, while investors kept a close watch on U.S.-China trade talks.

Negotiations continued in Washington after meetings last week in Beijing, as the two countries worked toward resolving their long-standing trade dispute which has cast a shadow over global economic growth.

President Donald Trump, is set to meet Vice Premier Liu He, who is leading the Chinese side in the talks later on Thursday.

“It seems as though this market will continue to stay strong so long as there is some kind of an anticipation of a trade deal,” said Sahak Manuelian, managing director, equities trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

Hopes of a trade deal have driven the S&P 500 to a strong start since the beginning of the quarter and it has closed higher all of this week. The index is near its highest since Oct. 10 and less than 2% away from hitting an all-time high.

However, worries about a global slowdown sapped some enthusiasm. Earlier, data showed German industrial orders in February fell at their sharpest rate in more than two years.

That came on the back of U.S. data on Wednesday that showed services sector activity hit a more than 19-month low in March and private payrolls grew less than expected. Investors will get a clearer picture when the Labor Department releases the non-farm payrolls report on Friday.

At 10:09 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 130.31 points, or 0.50%, at 26,348.44, the S&P 500 was up 4.82 points, or 0.17%, at 2,878.22 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 13.08 points, or 0.17%, at 7,908.63.

Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 0.76% rise in the communication services sector.

Facebook rose 2.33%, providing

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