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US markets end higher on Friday on trade optimism

The US markets ended higher on Friday as optimism about the prospects for a US-China trade agreement overshadowed downbeat US and China manufacturing data. Optimistic comments from White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also supported investor sentiments. Kudlow said the US and China are making fantastic progress in their trade negotiations, suggesting the world's two largest economies are on the cusp of an historic agreement.

Meanwhile, traders overlooked some disappointing economic data, including a report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showing growth in the US manufacturing sector slowed by much more than anticipated in February. The ISM's purchasing managers index dropped to 54.2 in February after climbing to 56.6 in January. While a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the manufacturing sector, street had expected the index to edge down to 55.5. Markit's manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) also disappointed, coming in at 53.0 in February, after hitting 53.7 in January.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed personal income edged slightly lower in the month of January after jumping much more than expected in December. The report said personal income dipped by 0.1% in January after surging up by 1.0% in December and rising by an upwardly revised 0.3% in November. The Commerce Department noted the report combines estimates on income in January and December due to the recent partial government shutdown.

Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 110.32 points or 0.43 percent to 26026.32, Nasdaq gained 62.82 points or 0.83 percent to 7595.35 and S&P 500 was up by 19.20 points or 0.69 percent to 2803.69.

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