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US: Stocks edge higher ahead of economic data

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rose modestly early Monday ahead of a heavy week of major economic news that includes the March jobs report and important talks between the US and China.

Analysts expect the US added 180,000 jobs last month. The Labor Department is due to release the March jobs report Friday.

Other key news events include minutes from the Federal Reserve's March monetary policy meeting that resulted in an increase in interest rates, and the first meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which is expected to focus at least in part on trade controversies.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 20,682.71, up 0.1 per cent.

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The broad-based S&P 500 also gained 0.1 per cent to 2,365.55, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.3 per cent to 5,928.43.

"The stock market for its part looks stuck in the mud at the moment," said analyst Patrick O'Hare, who cited the "lack of interesting news catalysts" thus far as the reason, Tesla Motors advanced 2.6 per cent after it reported that it sold more than 25,000 vehicles in the first quarter, a record that beat analysts' forecasts.