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US stocks boosted by more benign signs on trade

2019-05-16 HKT 04:50
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  • Investor sentiment was buoyed by the news that Washington was close to resolving its differences with Mexico and Canada over steel and aluminium tariffs. Photo: AP
    Investor sentiment was buoyed by the news that Washington was close to resolving its differences with Mexico and Canada over steel and aluminium tariffs. Photo: AP
Wall Street stocks climbed for a second straight session on Wednesday after the US sent more conciliatory messages on trade, offsetting lacklustre economic data.

The Dow Jones finished up 0.5 percent at 25,648.

The S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent to 2,850, while the Nasdaq jumped 1.1 percent to 7,822.

Stocks opened lower following surprisingly weak US retail sales data for April. But equities got a lift from mid-morning reports at the AFP news agency and elsewhere that the White House plans to hold off on steep tariffs on imported autos.

Also, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a Senate panel that Washington was close to resolving its differences with Mexico and Canada over steel and aluminium tariffs that have created friction among the trading partners.

Mnuchin also repeated his expectation that US negotiators would return to Beijing to pursue stalled talks aimed at resolving the US-China trade war.

Among individual sectors, Ford and General Motors gained about one percent and Fiat Chrysler two percent following on the delay to auto tariffs.

Google parent Alphabet jumped 3.9 percent, unveiling new promotional formats as it competes with Amazon and Facebook for advertising dollars.

Other large tech shares were also solidly higher, including Amazon, Apple and Netflix, all of which rose more than one percent.

Macy's dropped 0.6 percent despite reporting better-than-expected first-quarter earnings as it warned of the possible hit from new broad-based tariffs on Chinese goods threatened by the Trump administration. (AFP)