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US markets end significantly higher on optimism about US-China trade talks

The US markets extended their gains for second straight session and ended the session significantly higher with gains of over half a percent each on Friday, amid optimism about the ongoing trade talks between the US and China. As per the report, the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described the latest round of high-level US trade talks as constructive. Mnuchin also said he looks forward to welcoming China's Vice Premier Liu He to continue the important discussions in Washington next week. The world's two largest economies have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of one another's goods over the past year, battering financial markets and souring business and consumer sentiment.

On the economic front, a report released by the Commerce Department showed that personal income in the US increased by slightly less than anticipated in the month of February. The report said personal income rose by 0.2% in February after edging down by 0.1% in January. Street had expected personal income to climb by 0.3%. Reflecting the continued impact of the recent government shutdown, the Commerce Department also released data on personal spending in January but not February. Personal spending inched up by 0.1% in January after falling by 0.6% in December, while investors had expected spending to increase by 0.3%.

Meanwhile, a separate Commerce Department report showed a much bigger than expected increase in US new home sales in the month of February. The Commerce Department said new home sales surged up by 4.9% to an annual rate of 667,000 in February from the revised January rate of 636,000. Street had expected new home sales to increase by about 1.3%. With the increase in February, new home sales are at their high level since hitting a rate of 672,000 last March and up 0.6% compared to the same month a year ago.

Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 211.22 points or 0.82 percent to 25928.68, Nasdaq gained 60.15  points or 0.78 percent to 7729.32 and S&P 500 was up by 18.96 points or 0.67 percent to 2834.40.

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