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US: Stocks gain on report of possible Mexico tariff delay

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished solidly higher for a third straight session on Thursday following a report that the White House could delay tariffs on Mexican imports.

Major indices had been mildly positive through early afternoon but added to gains after Bloomberg reported the United States could push back a plan to impose the tariffs on June 10 to permit more time for talks on illegal immigration.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 25,720.66, up 0.7 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.6 per cent, settling at 2,843.49, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.5 per cent to 7,615.55.

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Investor unease over trade has risen since US President Donald Trump a week ago announced he would put tariffs on Mexican imports unless it did more to stem the flow of migrants at the southwestern United States border.

But investors welcomed the Bloomberg report, along with upbeat comments from Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who said talks with US officials at the State Department had yielded progress.

"Yes, I think we have advances today," Mr Ebrard told reporters after more than two hours of talks with mid-level US officials.

Thursday's gains marked the third straight day of increases after markets rallied on Tuesday and Wednesday on more dovish commentary from the US Federal Reserve.

Investors are also looking ahead to Friday's US jobs report. Analysts project the US added 180,000 jobs last month and that unemployment rose to 3.7 per cent from 3.6 per cent.

AFP