Wall Street has advanced and the S&P 500 has ended the session within striking distance of its all-time closing high, buoyed by positive developments on the US-China trade front and a promise of continued stimulus from the European Central Bank. Technology gains led the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq higher on Thursday while financials gave the biggest boost to the blue-chip Dow, which closed up for the seventh consecutive session, its longest winning streak since May.

Stocks rose worldwide as China and the US made concessions ahead of next month’s planned talks in Washington, aimed at easing a trade war that has whipsawed markets and stoked recessionary fears for months. US President Donald Trump agreed to delay increased tariffs on billions worth of Chinese goods for two weeks after China exempted tariffs on a basket of US imports and promised to buy more US agricultural products.

Investor confidence got an early boost from the European Central Bank, which promised continued stimulus to the ailing eurozone economy through asset purchases. The US Federal Reserve is expected to cut key interest rates by 25 basis points next week, a move intended to head off signs of softening in the US economy.

Such softening was not apparent in economic data released by the Labor Department on Thursday. Core consumer prices rose 2.4 per cent in August, well above the Fed’s 2 per cent inflation target and jobless claims dropped more than expected last week.


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