US stocks flirt with records on China trade progress

New York, Oct 26 (AFP/APP): Wall Street finished a solid week on an upbeat note Friday as the S&P 500 flirted with a record following upbeat comments from US trade officials about progress in China talks.

The US Trade Representative’s office said officials are “close to finalizing” some parts of the a trade agreement with China announced two weeks ago.

Details have remained scarce and the two sides have not announced plans to roll back any more tariffs after Washington held off on some duty increases this month.

Yet a more “constructive” tone on trade lifted sentiment along with benign economic data and decent earnings, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

“The news is good and the reaction of the market is good,” Hogan said.

The broad-based S&P 500 flirted with a record, but in the end finished at 3,022.55, a gain of 0.4 percent but about three points below the all-time high set in July.

Tokyo stocks open higher on US rallies, cheap yen

Stock markets were mixed in Europe and Asia, while the pound dipped against the dollar as Brexit remained in limbo while European Union leaders squabbled over how much of an extension to grant Britain to approve the latest Brexit agreement.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pressing for a snap election on December 12, but his government is struggling to secure the two-thirds majority it needs in a parliamentary vote, scheduled for Monday, to force the election.

“The latest political twist keeping sterling under pressure has a touch of surrealism about it”, noted Ricardo Evangelista, senior analyst at ActivTrades.

“There is an absurdity about the situation and the markets are reacting by once again walking away from the pound.”

Among individual companies, Amazon slid 1.1 percent after reporting decreased quarterly earnings due to the cost of building up its one-day delivery program on its Amazon Prime subscription service.

But Intel surged 8.1 percent as it reported much better-than-expected earnings and boosted its profit forecast. The news also lifted other chip companies, including Micron Technology, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices.

In non-earnings news, General Motors jumped 2.6 percent as the UAW autoworkers union signaled a likely end to a strike at US plants that has dragged on for more than a month.

UAW says it has ratified General Motors contract

The final vote came after markets closed, and confirmed workers voted to approve the contract deal.

– Key figures around 2030 GMT –

New York – Dow: UP 0.6 percent at 26,958.06 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.4 percent at 3,022.55 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.7 percent at 8,243.12 (close)
London – FTSE 100: DOWN less than 0.1 percent at 7,324.47 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.2 percent at 12,894.51 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 5,722.15 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,624.68 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 22,799.81 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.5 percent at 26,667.39 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.5 percent at 2,954.93 (close)
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2823 from $1.2851 at 2100 GMT
Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.39 pence from 86.41 pence
Dollar/yen: UP at 108.67 yen from 108.61 yen
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1079 from $1.1104
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.6 percent at $62.02 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.8 percent at $56.66 per barrel.

Tokyo stocks open higher on cheap yen

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