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US: Despite trade woes, Wall Street scratches out positive finish

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US President Donald Trump on Monday told reporters that Washington was displeased with the World Trade Organization (WTO) but he denied reports that he was considering exiting the global body.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks reversed course and climbed higher on Monday, starting the year's third quarter on a positive note despite persistent fears of a trade war.

US President Donald Trump on Monday also told reporters that Washington was displeased with the World Trade Organization (WTO) but he denied reports that he was considering exiting the global body.

The remarks helped sends stocks higher, along with a rally in tech shares.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average added a tenth of a percentage point to finish at 24,307.18 while the broader S&P 500 had stronger gains, climbing 0.3 per cent to 2,726.71.

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The Nasdaq jumped 0.8 per cent to close at 7,567.69.

At the White House, Mr Trump denied weekend media reports that he was planning to take the United States out of the WTO.

News site Axios on Sunday cited draft legislation it said was crafted at Mr Trump's behest which would effectively empower the president to set trade policy in violation of WTO rules.

"We are not planning anything now. But if they don't treat us properly, we will be doing something," Mr Trump said.

All three major indices began rising shortly before 2pm local time.

"For once, Trump calmed the game," Gregori Volokhine, president of Meeshchaert Financial Services, told AFP, noting that Mr Trump had also said decisions on talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement could wait until after November's midterm elections.

"There is still the threat of a trade war but we had a small respite today," he said.

Elsewhere, tech shares rose sharply, shares in iPhone maker Apple gaining 1.1 per cent and Microsoft rising 1.4 per cent.

AFP