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US: Stocks gain on trade optimism

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Wall Street stocks finished with solid gains on Thursday on hopes for progress in the US-China trade dispute after President Donald Trump announced he would meet with China's top trade envoy.

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished with solid gains on Thursday on hopes for progress in the US-China trade dispute after President Donald Trump announced he would meet with China's top trade envoy.

The market rallied following Trump's tweet announcing a planned meeting on Friday with Vice Premier Liu He, raising hopes about prospects for high-level trade negotiations that resumed Thursday.

Stocks have gyrated this week in response to conflicting signals from Washington and Beijing, tumbling after the US announced new restrictions on Chinese companies over human rights abuses and rallying on reports emphasising the possibility of a narrow agreement that averts further tariffs.

"As it has been the case all week, the trade talks with China dominated headlines this morning, and the President's tweets in the topic triggered the rally in stocks and global risk assets," said Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with an increase of 0.6 percent to 26,496.67.

The broad-based S&P 500 also gained 0.6 per cent to close at 2,938.13, as did the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, which ended at 7,950.78.

The talks come ahead of new tariffs scheduled to take effect next week and aim to resolve a trade war that has been going on for more than a year.

Elsewhere, US data showed that consumer inflation held steady in September, with lower energy costs offsetting upward pressures in prices for housing and medical care.

Among individual companies, Delta Air Lines shed 1.5 per cent after it projected lower than expected fourth quarter profits. Earnings in the third quarter rose 13.1 per cent to US$1.5 billion.

Bed Bath & Beyond surged 21.5 per cent as it named Mark Tritton as its new chief executive. Tritton, chief merchandising officer at Target, joins the retailer as it faces pressure from activist investors due to slumping sales.

AFP