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US: Stocks end higher ahead of trade talks

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rose Monday ahead US-China trade talks that have lifted hopes for an agreement after months of tit-for-tat tariff announcements, including those due to hit this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 per cent to end the day at 25,758.69.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to 2,857.05, bringing it within about 15 points of its January all-time high.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.1 per cent to 7,821.01.

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Investors are hoping for progress when trade representatives from Beijing and Washington resume talks later this week.

The talks come even as President Donald Trump's administration continues to push forward on additional tariffs, including a round of new levies on US$16 billion in Chinese goods expected to take effect Thursday.

Some skeptics have noted that the negotiations are only between mid-level officials, but the talks are seen as preferable to a further buildup in angry rhetoric on both sides.

Other highlights this week include earnings reports from Gap, Target and other retailers, and the annual central banker summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The Federal Reserve event could be more interesting after Donald Trump renewed his criticism of Fed Chair Jay Powell for raising rates, and his failure to confirm he supports the independence of the Fed, instead saying in an interview with Reuters he "believes in what's good for the country."

SodaStream International shares surged 9.4 per cent after it agreed to be acquired for US$3.2 billion by PepsiCo in the US soda and snacks giant's latest effort to diversify away from sugar-laden soft drinks among health-conscious consumers. PepsiCo slipped 0.1 per cent.

Tyson Foods rose 1.6 per cent as it reached a deal to buy Keystone Foods from Marfrig Global Foods for US$2.2 billion. Keystone is a supplier of chicken nuggets to McDonald's.

ConocoPhillips climbed 1.1 per cent following its announcement that Venezuela agreed to pay a US$2 billion settlement to the US company over a dispute dating to 2007 when Venezuela took over two oilfields run by ConocoPhillips in the South American country.

REUTERS