Wall Street bounces on trade deal hopes

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to break a three-day losing streak on Wednesday, following a report that the United States and China were moving closer to signing a “phase one” trade deal.

Washington and Beijing were close to agreeing on the amount of tariffs to be rolled back, Bloomberg reported, a day after President Donald Trump said the deal might have to wait until after the U.S. presidential election in November 2020.

“I think the President wants and needs a trade deal before the election, not after,” said Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company. “He (Trump) needs to have something to take to the electorate in 2020.”

A record run for the three main indexes, fueled by hopes of an interim trade deal in the near term, came to a halt at the end of last week as political risks heightened between the two countries over Hong Kong.

The back-and-forth on trade has also made investors wary after the final month of 2018 was the worst December on Wall Street since the Great Depression.

Tariff-sensitive semiconductor companies also rose, lifting the Philadelphia Semiconductor index () up 1.3%. The broader technology sector () gained 0.3%.

Markets shrugged off a survey that showed U.S. private employers added the fewest jobs in six months in November, with focus now turning toward the Labor Department’s more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data due Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average () was up 180.62 points, or 0.66%, at 27,683.43, the S&P 500 () was up 19.45 points, or 0.63%, at 3,112.65 and the Nasdaq Composite () was up 45.21 points, or 0.53%, at 8,565.86.

All the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were trading higher, with energy stocks () gaining the most as oil prices surged 4%. [O/R]

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