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US: Dow, S&P 500 end at records as market shrugs off trade fights

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[NEW YORK] The Dow and S&P 500 powered to fresh records on Thursday as investors again shrugged off trade war worries.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 1.0 per cent at 26,656.98, up 1.0 per cent and overtaking the January 26 record close by about 40 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.8 per cent to 2,930.75, besting the August 29 record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.0 per cent to 8,028.23.

The fresh records came as Canada's top diplomat Chrystia Freeland was back in Washington for another day of trade talks, with Canadian representatives pushing back against pressure from the Trump administration for a speedy deal.

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The United States has also been embroiled in an escalating trade dispute with China. Alibaba founder Jack Ma spiked a plan to create one million jobs in the United States due to the trade row, Chinese state news reported Thursday.

Markets have been pressured at times by those conflicts but investors took heart this week that the latest US and China's trade tariff announcements on each other were not as severe as they could have been.

Nate Thooft, senior managing director at Manulife Mutual Funds, said gains by bank stocks reflected expectations for higher interest rates and that technology companies continued to enjoy rosy profit outlooks.

But Mr Thooft remains cautious on trade, saying "any comment could dent the optimism we have seen in the last couple of days."

Economist Joel Naroff said the latest rally made little sense, commenting that "you know things are crazy when investors say that the new tariffs are not as bad as was feared so let's party hardy."

Dow gainers included Caterpillar, Intel and Walgreens Boots Alliance, all of which climbed at least two percent.

Cannabis stocks were mixed with Canopy Growth winning 6.2 per cent and Tilray diving 17.6 per cent. New Age Beverage surged 79.6 per cent after announcing it would unveil a CBD infused beverage at a convenience store trade show event in October.

General Electric sat out the rally, falling 3.1 per cent after JPMorgan Chase lowered its target on the company.

AFP