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US markets end higher on trade optimism

The US markets ended higher on Wednesday as traders keep up hope that the US and China will make progress on resolving their trade dispute. The strength on markets came in after President Donald Trump expressed optimism about striking a trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump noted that trade talks between US and Chinese officials were underway by telephone and suggested more meetings are likely. Moreover, he said 'If it is necessary, I will have another meeting with President Xi, who I like a lot and get along with very well'. Further, Trump said he could potentially intervene in the arrest of Huawei Technologies Company's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, offsetting concerns her detention could hurt trade negotiations. Meng was arrested in Canada, where she faces possible extradition, at the behest of the US over allegations she had lied to banks about Huawei's connections with another firm that did business with Iran.

On the economic front, with a sharp pullback in gasoline prices offsetting increases in other prices, the Labor Department released a report showing consumer prices came in flat in the month of November. The report said the Labor Department's consumer price index was unchanged in November after rising by 0.3 percent in October. The unchanged reading matched street estimates. The report said energy prices tumbled by 2.2 percent in November after jumping by 2.4 percent in October, as gasoline prices plunged by 4.2 percent after surging up by 3.0 percent in the previous month. The Labor Department said the steep drop by the gasoline index was offset by increases in an array of indexes, including shelter and used cars and trucks.

Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 157.03 points or 0.64 percent to 24527.27, S&P 500 gained 14.29 points or 0.54 percent to 2651.07 and Nasdaq was up by 66.48 points or 0.95 percent to 7098.31.

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