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18-Aug2018

US markets end higher on Friday; Dow Jones closes at highest since February

Continuing rally for second straight session, the US markets ended higher on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial closing at its highest since February, as investors welcomed signs of progress in resolving the trade dispute between the US and China, offsetting fears about Turkey's currency crisis. Late buying mainly helped markets to settle higher. As per the report, the US and Chinese negotiators are planning talks to resolve their trade row ahead of meetings in November. Additionally, Mexico's economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said he hopes to wrap up outstanding bilateral issues on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the middle of next week. The report comes following yesterday's news that China accepted an invitation from the US for a new round of trade talks to be held later this month. China's Ministry of Commerce said that a Chinese delegation led by Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen will travel to the US for trade talks to be held with US Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs David Malpass.

On the economic front, a report from the University of Michigan unexpectedly showed a notable deterioration in US consumer sentiment in the month of August. The preliminary report said the consumer sentiment index dropped to 95.3 in August after edging down to 97.9 in July. The street had expected the index to inch up to 98.0. Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin said the decrease in consumer sentiment was concentrated among households in the bottom third of the income distribution amid less favorable perceptions of market prices. Curtin said overall, the data indicate that consumers have little tolerance for overshooting inflation targets, and to the benefit of the Fed, interest rates now play a more decisive role in purchase decisions. Meanwhile, a separate report from the Conference Board showed a bigger than expected increase by its index of leading US economic indicators in the month of July. The Conference Board said its leading economic index climbed by 0.6% in July following a 0.5% increase in June. The street had expected the index to rise by 0.4%.

Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 110.59 points or 0.43 percent to 25,669.32, the S&P 500 gained 9.44 points or 0.33 percent to 2,850.13 and Nasdaq was up by 9.81 points or 0.13 percent to 7,816.33.


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