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Trade deal hopes, earnings propel Wall Street to another record high

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Via Reuters Finance

(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes hit fresh record highs on Friday, as optimism related to U.S.-China trade talks and solid earnings from semiconductor industry bellwether Applied Materials boosted risk appetite.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., November 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Shares in Applied Materials Inc (AMAT.O) jumped 9.3% and pushed the Philadelphia Semiconductor index .SOX to an all-time high after the chip gear maker forecast first-quarter results above estimates.

Nine of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher. Healthcare shares .SPXHC gained 1.3% and provided the biggest boost followed by the trade-sensitive technology sector .SPLRCT, which rose 0.65%.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said late on Thursday that the world’s two largest economies were getting close to a trade agreement, citing what he called very constructive talks with Beijing.

Adding to the upbeat mood, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said there would be a call between U.S. and Chinese officials later on Friday.

“We are definitely headed in the right direction with regard to trade,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at GlobAlt in Atlanta.

“Although there was some skittishness … the equity market hasn’t shown much of a pull back and we are still making those highs.”

Wall Street’s main indexes have been powered recently by hopes of a trade deal, largely better-than-expected third-quarter earnings and a third interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was on course to post its sixth weekly percentage rise.

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Data showed U.S. retail sales rebounded in October, but consumers cut back on purchases of big-ticket household items and clothing, which could temper expectations for a strong holiday shopping season.

The report comes a day after the benchmark S&P hit an all-time closing high after retail giant Walmart Inc’s (WMT.N) robust earnings.

At 12:33 p.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 149.99 points, or 0.54%, at 27,931.95, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 17.36 points, or 0.56%, at 3,113.99 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 49.83 points, or 0.59%, at 8,528.84.

Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) gained 1.1% after Mizuho upgraded its rating on the stock to “buy” from “neutral”, while JP Morgan raised its price target.

But Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) fell 2.3% as the company said it expects its gaming chip business to be impacted by seasonal weakness in the fourth quarter.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.00-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.69-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 46 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 96 new highs and 84 new lows.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anil D’Silva


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