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18-Jan2019

US markets end higher on hopes of easing trade tensions

Magnifying their gains for third straight day, the US markets ended higher on Thursday on report that the US is considering lifting some tariffs on Chinese products in an effort to elicit more concessions from China for a bilateral trade deal and to stabilize the financial markets. Some support also came with report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showing a significant acceleration in the pace of growth in regional manufacturing activity in the month of January. The Philly Fed said its index for current manufacturing activity in the region jumped to 17.0 in January from 9.1 in December, with a positive reading indicating growth. Street had expected the index to tick up to 10.0. The much bigger than expected increase by the headline index reflected a substantial acceleration in new orders growth, as the new orders index surged up to 21.3 in January from 13.3 in December.

Besides, a separate report from the Labor Department unexpectedly showed a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended January 12. The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 213,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 216,000. Street had expected jobless claims to inch up to 220,000. The less volatile four-week moving average also dipped to 220,750, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week's unrevised average of 221,750. However, gains remain capped as investors were increasingly worried that a government shutdown, entering its 27th day, would deliver a more lasting impact to economic growth in the first quarter.

Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 162.94 points or 0.67 percent to 24370.10, Nasdaq gained 49.77 points or 0.71 percent to 7084.46 and S&P 500 was up by 19.86 points or 0.76 to 2635.96.


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