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20-Sep2018

US markets end mostly higher on Wednesday

The US markets ended mostly higher on Wednesday as investors increased bets on a favorable outcome in the trade dispute between the United States and China. Besides, a jump in bank stocks in response to rising interest rates also supported the gains, while weak technology sector hobbled the Nasdaq. Bank stocks are being driven higher by a jump in the US Treasury note yield to 3.09%, its highest level since May.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China was facing greater difficulties in keeping its economy stable. He also said deeply integrated into the world economy, the Chinese economy is inevitably affected by notable changes in the global economic and trade context.  Li added, however, the Chinese have sufficient tools to manage these difficulties. The comments suggest that China is digging in to resist the aggressive attempts by the Trump administration to force it to make concessions on trade. Although the headlines read on Tuesday that the trade dispute was escalating, the rally in the US stock market suggests otherwise.

On the economic front, the US current-account deficit, a core component in a country's balance of payments, shrank 17% in the second quarter and touched the lowest level in three years, though the dropoff is unlikely to last. The government said the deficit dropped to $101.5 billion from a revised $121.7 billion in the first quarter. The current account includes not just trade but also investments made abroad as well as personal cash transfers such as foreign workers sending money home. The current account deficit was 2% of GDP in the second quarter. That's down from 2.4% in the first quarter and well below a peak of 6.3% in 2005.

Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 158.80 points or 0.61 percent to 26,405.76, the S&P 500 rose 3.64 points or 0.13 percent to 2,907.95, while Nasdaq was down by 6.07 points or 0.08 percent to 7,950.04.


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