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US: Stocks hold onto gains amid tense US-Canada talks


[NEW YORK] Wall Street held steady Friday as investors remained cautious ahead of a long weekend amid a tense showdown between the United States and Canada in trade talks.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite managed an 0.26 per cent gain, to 8,109.54, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed a bare 0.09 per cent to 25,964.82 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose a miniscule 0.01 per cent to 2,901.52.

After spending much of the session in negative territory, stocks managed to hold onto gains earned early in the week, as traders headed out for a three-day weekend for the Labor Day holiday.

"There is nobody around. The whole parking lot is empty here," quipped Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors.

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"Today does not mean very much. The most important thing is this little tiff with Canada. We'll have a better idea where we stand next week, when people come back to the office," Ms Ogg said.

After claiming a deal earlier this week on revising the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico, President Donald Trump continued to pressure Canada to bow to US terms on their side of the pact.

"We will resume negotiations next week," a Canadian official close to the talks said, after Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was seen leaving US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer's offices in Washington.

Ms Lighthizer said the White House had informed Congress Friday that it intends to sign a new free trade deal with Mexico - and possibly with Canada - within 90 days.

Among major movers Friday, struggling General Electric jumped 1.3 per cent and CISCO also gained 1.3 per cent. Nike added 1.2 per cent.

Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev lost 2.5 per cent, and Ford shed 2.3 per cent.


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