Wall Street rises on trade hopes; S&P, Nasdaq post best weeks in seven years

NEW YORK: Wall Street rose on Friday as investors hoped for progress on trade in a critical US-China meeting over the weekend, and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq posted their biggest weekly per centage gains in nearly seven years.

The Dow saw its largest weekly advance in two years. Investors were encouraged this week by comments by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and subsequent minutes from the central bank’s latest meeting that suggested that the Fed will take a data-driven rather than ideological approach to future rate-hikes.

All three major US indexes recorded modest monthly per centage gains for November.

A Chinese official said “consensus is steadily increasing” in trade negotiations between the US and China as the G20 meeting got underway in Buenos Aires, sparking hopes there would be a positive resolution in the ongoing tariff dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

US President Donald Trump is set to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Saturday and the outcome could swing stocks for the rest of the year.

“The three key issues that people are really focusing on are how dovish is the Fed going to be going forward, how are trade relations with China going to play out, and what’s going on in the oil markets,” said Charlie Ripley, senior market strategist for Allianz Investment Management in Minneapolis.

“But as we get better news, that’s helped lift the markets,” Ripley added. “That’s why we’re seeing a week like this week.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 199.62 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 25,538.46, the S&P 500 gained 22.4 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 2,760.16 and the Nasdaq Composite added 57.45 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 7,330.54.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but energy ended the session in positive territory.

Energy stocks fell 0.2 per cent as crude prices extended their slide.

But falling oil prices boosted airlines stocks. The Dow Jones Airlines index rose 2.8 per cent.

Shares of Marriott International Inc sank 5.6 per cent after the hotel operator said hackers stole about 500 million records from its Starwood Hotels reservation system.

General Electric Co shares slid 5.5 per cent following a Wall Street Journal report that former employees are being questioned by federal investigators about the company’s failure to acknowledge its insurance business’ worsening results over the years.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.17-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.24-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 49 new highs and 90 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 8.39 billion shares, compared to the 7.63 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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