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US: Stocks gain on China trade deal hopes

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rose for a second straight session on Wednesday as investors greeted positive signs on US-China trade talks and higher oil prices lifted petroleum-linked equities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.5 per cent at 25,543.27.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.3 per cent to close at 2,753.03, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index edged up less than 0.1 per cent to 7,420.38.

Markets are betting that talks this week in Beijing between top US and Chinese officials will help avert new US tariff actions scheduled for March 1.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the he would consider delaying the tariffs if a deal is close.

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A report in the South China Morning Post said Mr Xi would personally meet the US delegation in Beijing, suggesting a redoubled effort to make progress on a deal.

Meanwhile, petroleum-linked shares were especially strong, with Dow member Exxon Mobil winning 1.1 per cent and Apache adding 3.8 per cent after data showing lower Opec output boosted oil prices.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries fell 7.8 per cent as it said 2019 would be "the trough for our business" and reported a US$2.4 billion loss for 2018 amid generic drug pricing pressure in the United States.

Hotel giant Hilton Worldwide jumped 6.5 per cent as it projected 2019 profit of between US$895 million and US$931 million, compared with US$764 million last year.


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