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US: Stocks end mostly higher as Nasdaq hits new record

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US stocks ended mixed on Tuesday but the Nasdaq posted a new record even though investors still have not received clarity on an agreement to end the US-China trade war.

[NEW YORK] US stocks ended mixed on Tuesday but the Nasdaq posted a new record even though investors still have not received clarity on an agreement to end the US-China trade war.

Attention now will shift to back-to-back testimony on Wednesday and Thursday by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell but it is unlikely he will do much beyond confirm the central bank is on hold for now.

In a rarely seen development, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with no change at 27,691.49.

But the broader S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to finish at 3,091.84 while the tech-dominated Nasdaq Composite Index rose nearly 0.3 per cent to close at a new high of 8,486.09.

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The highly-anticipated speech by President Donald Trump failed offer any positive news on US trade disputes with China or Europe. Instead he threatened to raise tariffs "substantially" on Chinese goods if no deal is reached with Beijing.

Mr Trump downplayed the impact on the economy of the trade conflicts, saying "The real cost... would be if we did nothing."

Schwab market analysts summed it up saying the speech "fell short of those expectations."

Mr Trump again criticised the Fed for raising rates two quickly and cutting two slowly.

But the December policy meeting is likely to keep rates on hold, a message Mr Powell likely will reiterate in his congressional appearance.

CFRA's Sam Stovall said, "We are in a period where we have to wait until December to see what the Fed might be doing again. We still have to wait to get some sort of an agreement on the trade situation."

One of the major movers in the trading session was Disney, which posted a gain of 1.4 per cent after launching a streaming service that will offer major competition to Netflix, Hulu and other services.

But Advance Auto Parts fell 7.5 per cent after reporting disappointing quarterly earnings.

AFP