US stocks close near records as trade, inflation worries fade

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Traders working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Sept 12, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street forged higher on Thursday (Sept 13), comforted by word of possible US-China trade talks and a tame report on consumer inflation.

The day's gains left the broad-based S&P 500 flirting with record levels and the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average at six-month highs.

The Dow jumped 0.6 per cent to 26,146.13, up nearly 150 points, while the S&P gained 0.5 per cent, rising to 2,904.22, a hare's breadth off its Aug 29 record of 2,914.04.

Strong momentum in the tech sector meanwhile pushed the Nasdaq up 0.8 per cent to 8,013.71.

Make of the iPhone Apple rose 2.4 per cent a day after dipping on investor disappointment with its latest update to its smartphone product line.

"Overall tech is really driving this market. The momentum there is one that a lot of investors are trying to pile into," Matthew Miskin of John Hancock Investments told AFP.

"The fundamentals in terms of earnings estimates of tech stocks have started to fade."

The Labour Department earlier on Thursday reported that inflation had cooled on an annual basis, with key measures also falling short of analyst expectations.

Miskin said this also gave investors some comfort, a day after The Wall Street Journal reported US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had reached out to his Chinese counterparts to renew trade talks.

Markets have suffered dyspepsia in 2018 as President Donald Trump launched trade wars with the world's other major economies.

Chipmaker Qualcomm soared 4 per cent after the company announced an accelerated US$16 billion (S$22 billion) share buyback programme.

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