US stocks rise on report US could lift China tariffs

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

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street rose for a third straight session on Thursday (Jan 17) boosted by a report that Washington was considering scaling back some tariffs on China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.7 per cent to close the day at 24,370.10, slightly below the highest point of the session.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.8 per cent to end at 2,635.96, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.7 per cent to finish at 7,084.46.

US stocks were little changed through early afternoon but suddenly jumped higher after The Wall Street Journal reported that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had proposed lifting some or all tariffs on China as a way to reassure markets and bolster the odds of a bigger trade deal.

But the article described the idea as part of a policy debate between Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who is more hawkish on China.

The Treasury Department told AFP on Thursday that no formal recommendation had been made by either Mnuchin or Lighthizer in the talks, which were "nowhere near completion."

Among those shares that got a boost, Boeing, Caterpillar and General Motors gained at least 1 per cent.


All three depend on China for a significant portion of sales.

The US-China trade war has been among the biggest worries of investors, with headlines pulling shares in opposite directions on the real and perceived ups and downs of trade negotiations.

Elsewhere on the market, Morgan Stanley sank 4.4 per cent after reporting fourth-quarter earnings of 80 cents per share, nine cents shy of analyst expectations, as it characterised the global environment as "uncertain."

But PPG jumped 4.8 per cent as it reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter profits. The company said it was able to pass on higher materials costs by lifting prices.