Business / Financial Markets

Wall Street rallies to records on reported China trade deal

AFP-JIJI

U.S. stocks on Thursday sailed to their first record closes of December, lifted by media reports that Washington and Beijing had struck a trade bargain at last.

Two of the three main indexes closed with new records: the broad-based S&P 500 gained 1 percent to end at 3,168.57, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.7 percent to 8,717.32.

Meanwhile, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 percent to finish at 28,132.05.

Earlier in the day, investors also digested commentary from the European Central Bank, which on Thursday tweaked its eurozone growth forecasts and said a slowdown could be stabilizing.

British voters meanwhile were headed to the polls in a general election that could help determine the course of Brexit.

“Getting VERY close to a BIG DEAL with China. They want it, and so do we!” Trump tweeted five minutes after the start of trading, cheering investors beset by months of uncertainty.

Media reports indicated the two sides at last reached an agreement in principle, two months after Trump first announced a “phase one” bargain had been struck.

“We still need to see some details of what’s actually in this agreement to get a true read on what’s happening but the sentiment is bullish at the moment,” Ryan McKay, a commodity strategist at TD Securities, told AFP.

“We’ve been through this quite a few times with Trump where he says we’re close to a deal and then nothing really materializes from it.”

Among individual companies, shares in engineering giant General Electric and coffee chain Starbucks both rose following analyst upgrades.

Delta gained 2.9 after the airline offered positive guidance for 2020.