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US: Wall Street hits new records despite mixed signals on trade

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US stocks forged higher on Friday and closed with new records for the second straight day despite being buffeted by fast-changing news in the US-China trade war.

[NEW YORK] US stocks forged higher on Friday and closed with new records for the second straight day despite being buffeted by fast-changing news in the US-China trade war.

President Donald Trump said Friday morning contradicted earlier claims by the Chinese government, saying he had not agreed to roll back tariffs as part of a partial trade deal the two sides are negotiating.

After spending much of the day in the red, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average squeaked into positive territory, closing a fraction above Thursday's record close at 27,681.24.

The broader S&P 500 rose 0.3 per cent to end the week at 3,092.95 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.5 per cent, closing at 8,475.31.

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All three indices notched gains for the week, with the Nasdaq rising for the sixth week in a row, its longest winning streak since the March-May period.

Global investors have been cheered in recent days by hope of a de-escalation in the US-China trade war.

"They would like to have a rollback. I haven't agreed to anything," Mr Trump told reporters at the White House.

"China would like to get somewhat of a rollback, not a complete rollback, because they know I won't do it."

China's Commerce Ministry said Thursday that both sides had "agreed to roll back the additional tariffs in stages as progress is made towards a (final) agreement."

The two sides have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in two-way trade, weighing on economic growth.

"It is clear that there are big reasons for Trump and Xi to want some form of deal, that they cannot appear to be conceding too much, that China wants as many of the tariffs removed as possible, and that Trump's trade hawks would prefer to keep as many tariffs as they can," Karl Haeling of LBBW said in a market commentary.

Disney finished with a gain of 3.8 per cent after better-than-expected quarterly results and strong box office performance, while clothing outlet Gap dove 7.6 per cent after poor sales results.

AFP