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US markets end higher as Trump delays China tariff deadline

The US markets ended higher on Monday after President Donald Trump announced he intends to postpone a planned increase in US tariffs on Chinese imports. He had previously threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% from 10% if a long-term trade agreement was not reached before a March 1 deadline. The increase in tariffs will now be delayed, although Trump did not specify another deadline to strike a trade deal. He said the decision to delay the tariff increase reflected substantial progress in the ongoing trade talks between the US and China. The president said the US and China have made progress on important structural issues including intellectual property protection, technology transfer, agriculture, services, currency, and many other issues.

On the economic front, delayed data released by the Commerce Department showed wholesale inventories in the US jumped by much more than anticipated in the month of December. The report said wholesale inventories surged up by 1.1% in December after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.4% in November. Street had expected inventories to rise by 0.3%, matching the increase originally reported for the previous month. The bigger than expected jump in wholesale inventories came as inventories of durable goods spiked by 1.5% in December after rising by 0.7% in November. Inventories of metals, furniture, electrical equipment, and lumber all showed significant increases during the month. The report said inventories of non-durable goods also rose by 0.3% in December after edging down by 0.1% in November.

Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 60.14 points or 0.23 percent to 26091.95, Nasdaq gained 26.92 points or 0.36 percent to 7554.46 and S&P 500 was up by 3.44 points or 0.12 percent to 2796.11.

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