Dow climbs amid renewed U.S.-China trade-talk optimism

  • Written by MarketWatch
  • Published in Economics

U.S. stocks headed higher Wednesday midday as a reports the U.S. and China are still working toward a phase-one trade deal helped to offset fears of a delay sparked a day earlier by President Donald Trump’s remarks.

What are stocks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.70%[1] rose 182 points, 0.7%, to 27,684. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.68%[2] was 20 points higher, or 0.6%, trading at 3,113. The Nasdaq Composite Index  COMP, +0.56%[3] jumped 45 points, or 0.5%, at 8,566. All three indexes were off earlier highs.

On Tuesday[4], the Dow ended 280.23 points lower, down 1%, at 27,502.81, for its biggest one-day drop since Oct. 8. The S&P 500 finished with a loss of 20.67 points, or 0.7%, at 3,093.20, while the Nasdaq retreated 47.34 points, or 0.6%, ending at 8,520.64.

What’s driving the market?

U.S. stock-index benchmarks recovered some of the week’s lost ground after Bloomberg News[5], citing sources familiar, reported that despite signs of fresh tensions, Beijing and Washington were making progress toward a phase-one trade pact. The comments also helped to provide a lift to European equities also.

Bloomberg’s report said any partial resolution on trade would be completed before another set of China tariffs kicks in on Dec. 15. The news comes after stocks broadly slumped on Tuesday following a President Trump news conference in London, where he indicated there was “no deadline” when it comes to concluding the nearly two-year-old U.S.-China trade spat. He made those comments at a NATO meeting.

“It still baffles me that investors hang on every Trump statement and tweet,” said Craig Erlam, an analyst with OANDA Europe. “His trade deal optimism changes on a near-daily basis and yet investors are very sensitive to it. It is probably a reflection of the relative lack of other talking points.”

Read: What a ‘no-deal’ U.S.-China trade scenario would mean for stocks and bonds[6]

Meanwhile, stocks shrugged off a report on U.S. private-sector hiring Wednesday morning. Employers added just 67,000 workers in November, payroll processor ADP said[7], a much weaker reading than analysts had forecast, made worse by downward revisions to earlier months.

A reading on the service sector of the U.S. economy was mixed: the Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index[8] was at 53.9%, lower than in October, but new orders were at 57.1%, up from 55.6% and signaling stronger demand...

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