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US markets end higher on Wednesday

The US markets closed higher on Wednesday with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq settling at a record for a fourth session, while the Dow reached its best closing level in nearly seven months. The US economy's strength-despite some concern about slack in the housing market-and solid corporate results also laid the groundwork for continued market gains. Investors' sentiment was also boosted by the resumption of US-Canada trade talks. Canada rejoined the talks following President Donald Trump's announcement of a preliminary trade deal with Mexico on Monday. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said difficult concessions by Mexico have set the stage for productive conversations in the coming days.

On the economic front, the Commerce Department's report showed that economic activity in the US grew by slightly more than initially estimated in the second quarter. The report said real gross domestic product climbed by 4.2% in the second quarter compared to the previously reported 4.1% increase. The pace of growth had been expected to be downwardly revised to 4.0%. With the unexpected upward revision, the GDP growth in the second quarter reflects a significant acceleration from the 2.2% advance in the first quarter. Meanwhile, a separate report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed an unexpected pullback in pending home sales in the month of July. NAR said its pending home sales index dropped by 0.7% to 106.2 in July after jumping by 1.0$ to an upwardly revised 107.0 in June. Street had expected pending home sales to rise by 0.3%.

Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60.55 points or 0.23 percent to 26124.57, the S&P 500 gained 16.52 points or 0.57 percent to 2914.04 and Nasdaq was up by 79.65 points or 0.99 percent to 8109.69.

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