Major US stock indexes registered record closing highs on Thursday as optimism about a US-China trade deal firmed and as Apple and other market heavyweights posted strong gains. Also helping the market were easing concerns over tensions between the US and Iran. US President Donald Trump refrained from ordering more military action, and Iran’s foreign minister said the missile strikes on Iraqi bases that house US forces had ‘concluded’ Tehran’s response.

Apple Inc gained 2.1 per cent on twin support from data showing iPhone sales jumped more than 18 per cent in China in December, as well as a price target hike by Jefferies on expectations of a strong finish to 2019. The S&P 500 technology sector rose 1.1 per cent, the top gainer among sectors.

The financial index ended up 0.77 per cent after bullish brokerage comments on Citigroup Inc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc ahead of their earnings next week. On trade, China’s commerce ministry said Vice Premier Liu He will sign a phase one deal in Washington next week.

Trump said his administration will start negotiating the phase two trade agreement soon but that he might wait to complete any agreement until after November’s presidential election. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.81 points, or 0.74 per cent, to 28,956.9, the S&P 500 gained 21.65 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 3274.7 and the Nasdaq Composite added 74.18 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 9203.43.


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