US stocks push higher on trade deal optimism

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rose on Wednesday (April 3), shrugging off disappointing economic data to advance amid optimism over US-China trade talks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 per cent to 26,218.13.

The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.2 per cent to 2,873.40, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.6 per cent to 7,895.55.

Hopes remained high that Washington and Beijing could soon reach a major trade agreement that averts higher tariffs.

Analysts pointed to a report in The Financial Times that said the United States and China had resolved most issues and that trade talks resuming Wednesday in Washington could be "potentially climactic."

"The momentum certainly seems to be continue to be on the upside," said Bill Lynch of Hinsdale Associates. "There's more positive sentiment with respect to a possible deal between the US and China."

US services sector activity slowed more than expected in March, according to the Institute for Supply Management.

Meanwhile, payrolls firm ADP estimated that the United States added just 129,000 jobs in March, much lower than the 178,000 economists had been expecting.

The report comes ahead of Friday's more important Department of Labor jobs data for March.

Chip companies were an especially strong group, with Advanced Micro Devices winning 8.5 percent, Lam Research 4 per cent and Micron Technology 3.4 per cent.

But Caterpillar fell 0.6 per cent after it was downgraded by Deutsche Bank due to the weakening global growth outlook.

"Synchronised global growth has collapsed," said the Deutsche note.

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