US stocks gain on hopes for China trade deal

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks advanced on Friday (Oct 25) following upbeat comments from US trade officials about China trade talks while investors digested a round of mostly solid corporate earnings.

A statement from the US Trade Representatives said the United States and China are "close to finalising" some parts of the a trade agreement announced two weeks ago.

Details have remained scarce and the two sides have not announced plans to roll back any more tariffs after Washington held off on some duty increases this month.

Yet a more "constructive" tone on trade lifted sentiment along with benign economic data and decent earnings, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

"The news is good and the reaction of the market is good," Hogan said.

The broad-based S&P 500 flirted with a record, but finished at 3,022.55, up 0.4 per cent but about three points below the all-time high from July.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.6 per cent to 26,958.06, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.7 per cent to close at 8,243.12.

Amazon slid 1.1 percent after reporting decreased quarterly earnings due to the cost of building up its one-day delivery program on its Amazon Prime subscription service.

But Intel surged 9.5 per cent as it reported much better-than-expected earnings and boosted its profit forecast. The news also lifted other chip companies, including Micron Technology, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices.

In non-earnings news, General Motors jumped 2.5 per cent as the United Auto Workers signaled a likely end to a strike at US plants that has dragged on for more than a month. A final vote tally is expected later on Friday.