Wall Street little changed despite US-China trade deal

A trader checks stock prices on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Dec 3, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street was largely unmoved by the long-awaited US-China trade deal unveiled on Friday (Dec 13), which marked the end to the steady escalation in the dispute after nearly two years.

Two major stock indices notched fresh records and all three banked gains for the week but trading activity overall was muted.

Washington and Beijing announced a partial agreement averts the new tariffs on Chinese goods set to hit on Sunday, while addressing some major US grievances about Chinese trade practices.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average finished in positive territory by a hair, closing essentially flat at 28,135.38

The broader S&P 500 was also essentially flat at 3,168.80, eking out a fresh record close, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.2 per cent to close at 8,734.88, also a new all-time high.

On the global scene, uncertainty also declined the day after Britain's Conservatives won a commanding majority in parliament, giving Prime Minister Boris Johnson the political backing to proceed with Brexit next month.

Stocks had rallied Thursday in anticipation of the trade deal with China, but then declined when the pact was announced.

"You got a pretty good example of 'buy the rumors and sell the news,'" Art Hogan of National Holdings, referencing the saying indicating equities rise more in anticipation of an event than after the event itself.

"But it's certainly great news on Brexit and US-China trade war."

Trade economists cheered the fact the deal pulled back from the brink, but did not see much progress after many months of pain for American businesses and farmers.

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