U.S. stocks hit record levels on Thursday after President Donald Trump tweeted that the United States was “very close” to a trade deal with China and on a report that U.S. trade negotiators had offered to cancel a fresh round of tariffs on Chinese goods.
Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2019
The three main indexes opened lower but quickly gained ground after Trump’s statement five minutes after markets opened, which comes just days before the tariffs go into effect on Dec. 15.
The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. negotiators have offered to slash existing tariffs by as much as half on roughly US$360 billion of Chinese-made goods, supporting the bounce.
“What Trump is saying and what China is responding to would suggest that maybe we are more at a status quo level of a detente than at further deterioration in relationships,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird.
“We want to see evidence that things aren’t deteriorating and if tariffs are getting delayed or rolled back, that’s evidence.”
Markets also took comfort from the Federal Reserve’s move on Wednesday to hold interest rates steady.
The record run in U.S. stocks has been supported by three rate cuts this year, a calmer tone on trade and some relief in corporate earnings. The S&P 500 index is now up more than 26 per cent so far this year.
Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits jumped to more than a two-year high last week, while another report showed U.S. producer prices were unexpectedly unchanged in November.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 282.08 points, or 1.01 per cent, at 28,193.38, the S&P 500 was up 31.96 points, or 1.02 per cent, at 3,173.59 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 88.00 points, or 1.02 per cent, at 8,742.05.
Starbucks Corp rose 2.6 per cent after J.P. Morgan raised its rating on the coffee chain to “overweight.”
General Electric climbed 4 per cent after UBS upgraded the industrial conglomerate’s shares to “buy.”
Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc jumped 4.3 per cent as the carrier forecast increase in profit and revenue in 2020.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.95-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.85-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 73 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 147 new highs and 28 new lows.
© Thomson Reuters 2019