The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 posted record closing highs on Wednesday, helped by a big jump in Walt Disney shares, but the Nasdaq fell as stocks were kept in check by fresh uncertainty over US-China trade relations.

The Wall Street Journal reported during the session that US-China trade negotiations have hit a snag over farm purchases, the latest development in a dispute between the two countries that has convulsed markets for more than a year. The three indexes had all drifted higher earlier in the day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said US central bankers see a ‘sustained expansion’ ahead for the country’s economy.

Stocks have recently climbed to record levels, fuelled by Fed interest rate cuts, third-quarter earnings exceeding low expectations and signs the economy is bottoming. But questions about an initial agreement to help resolve the US-China trade dispute remain a key wild card.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92.1 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 27,783.59, the S&P 500 gained 2.2 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 3,094.04 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 3.99 points, or 0.05 per cent, to 8,482.10.


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