A modest Wall Street rally gained strength in the final hour of trading after Bloomberg reported that the U.S. was considering delaying a 5% tariff on Mexican goods, set to go into effect on Monday. The report came as the two countries held a second day of trade talks.
The S&P 500 index gained 17.34 points, or 0.6%, to 2,843.49. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 181.09 points, or 0.7%, to 25,720.66. It briefly climbed 260 points. The Nasdaq composite reversed an early slide, adding 40.08 points, or 0.5%, to 7,615.55. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies dropped 3.25 points, or 0.2%, to 1,503.54.
President Donald Trump said he'll make a decision about ramping up tariffs on China after he speaks with Chinese President Xi Jinping this month during the G-20 meeting in Japan, which brings together leaders of developed and developing countries.
Trump ordered tariffs of up to 25% on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of Chinese exports and his administration is preparing to extend them to $300 billion more — almost all items shipped to the U.S. from China. China has reciprocated with tariffs of its own, among other measures.
The trade dispute with Mexico and China threatens to stifle economic growth in the U.S. and globally. Uncertainty surrounding the trade negotiations has sent many traders fleeing to safer investments, like bonds and gold.
Investors are also watching the U.S. jobs data due later in the day for signs of where the economy is going. "Asia markets look set to trail after the U.S. with moderate gains as worries on trade tuned a notch lower through the Thursday session. The attention, meanwhile, is mostly focused upon Friday's U.S. labor market update," said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 65 cents to $53.24 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, rose 78 cents to $62.45 a barrel. CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.49 Japanese yen from 108.22 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1262 from $1.1231.
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