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US stocks open higher, flirting with records

US stocks open higher, flirting with records

New York : Wall Street brushed off the ominous date and pushed higher at the open Friday, stoked by relief that President Donald Trump’s trade war with China appears to be inching towards a resolution.

China announced Friday it will exempt soybeans and pork from its retaliatory tariffs, a hugely symbolic move to appease Trump ahead of a new round of talks due next month.

Better-than-expected US retail sales data added to the good feelings on the market.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3 percent to 27,253.02 about 20 minutes into the trading day.

The broad-based S&P 500 is closing in on a record, rising 0.2 percent to 3,014.31, but the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index barely inched above Thursday’s close to 8,200.94.

“It’s Friday the 13th but the stock market isn’t feeling too unlucky right now. On the contrary, it is feeling lucky since the S&P 500 is knocking on the door of a new all-time high,” analyst Patrick O’Hare said at Briefing.com.

“The growth outlook has improved in the market’s mind and so has the trade outlook.”

US retail sales surpassed expectations, with an increase of 0.4 percent, on solid auto and online sales, while a consumer sentiment index rose a bit, although it remains low.

Among individual companies, bankrupt utility company PG&E surged nearly five percent after announcing an $11 billion settlement with insurance companies over its responsibility for the deadly 2018 Camp Fire in California.

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