US markets hit record highs as investors interpret trade news

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 notched record-closing highs on Thursday as the latest signs of progress in trade relations between the United States and China relieved investors.
But a report later in the day – which raised worries about the outlook for a deal – limited the session’s gains.
China said it had agreed with the US to remove tariffs in phases, while state-owned Xinhua news agency said Beijing was also considering removing restrictions on poultry imports.
However, indexes pared gains in afternoon trading after a Reuters news agency report said the White House’s plan to roll back China tariffs faces internal opposition and that a final decision has not been made.
An interim US-China deal is expected to include a US pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for December 15.
“Any kind of uncertainty there, with the market at all-time highs, and it’s easy for traders and institutions to press the sell button and take some money off the table,” said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B Lancz & Associates Inc, an investment advisory firm based in Toledo, Ohio.
‘That’s a plus’ The S&P 500 technology index ended up 0.7 percent, with shares of Qualcomm Inc up 6.3 percent after it forecast current-quarter profit above analysts’ estimates.
Together with Qualcomm, other chipmakers – which have a sizeable exposure to China – also rose, propping the Philadelphia Semiconductor index up 0.7 percent.
The trade-sensitive industrials sector finished up 0.2 percent.
The Dow rose 182.24 points, or 0.66 percent, to 27,674.80. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 gained 8.4 points, or 0.27 percent, to 3,085.18, and the Nasdaq Composite added 23.89 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 8,434.52.
The day’s gains resumed the recent record run for stocks, which have been bolstered, along with trade deal hopes, by some upbeat earnings.
“Corporate earnings, while down year over year, are better than many had expected, and that’s a plus,” said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist of Bruderman Asset Management in New York.
Yet declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by a 1.06-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.09-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 54 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 118 new highs and 85 new lows.
Volume on US exchanges was 7.92 billion shares, compared with the 6.83 billion-share average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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