Trade Talk Optimism Pushes Stocks Higher in Early Trading

NEW YORK (AP) — Plans to extend key trade talks between the U.S. and China drove stocks broadly higher in early trading.

The early gains mark a turnaround after the market ended lower Thursday following a disappointing holiday sales report. The S&P 500 index had risen the prior four trading days.

China's government said negotiators plan to meet in Washington next week for more talks aimed at resolving the trade war between the world's largest economies. Two days of talks wrapped up Friday in Beijing and a March 2 deadline hangs over both sides.

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The U.S. is set to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods after March 2, escalating a trade war that has already raised prices on materials and products for companies and consumers.

Bank, energy and materials stocks are showing the biggest gains. All 11 sectors in the S&P 500 are higher.

Corporate earnings continued rolling out the fourth-quarter reporting period nears an end. Newell Brands, which counts baby products among its Sharpie and Rubbermaid items, plunged. Chipmaker Nvidia rose on strong profit results and a good forecast for the year.

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KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 336 points, or 1.3 percent, to 25,775 as of 10:30 a.m. The S&P 500 index rose 0.9 percent and The Nasdaq composite gained 0.5 percent. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 0.9 percent.

DEERE IN HEADLIGHTS: Agricultural equipment maker Deere warned that farmers are refraining from buying new equipment because of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.

The company gave investors a mixed fourth-quarter report, with profit falling short and revenue beating forecasts. It also said tariffs had discouraged customers such as farmers from buying tractors and other machinery, an indication of how the U.S.-China trade dispute has weighed on the manufacturing sector.

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The stock was slightly lower.

WHEN THE CHIPS ARE UP: Chipmaker Nvidia rose 2.5 percent following its strong fourth-quarter profit report. Despite a downturn in revenue, the company expects demand to increase as the year moves forward. Its forecast for the year beat Wall Street forecasts.

The company was hurt during the previous quarter by a plunge in demand from the cryptocurrency sector and lower gaming console sales.

NOT SO SHARPIE: Newell Brands, which counts Sharpie markers and Rubbermaid among its many products, plunged 17 percent.

The loss of retailer Toys R US hurt the company's core sales. Newell makes a range of baby products that were carried by the now defunct Babies R US.


By AP reporter Damian J. Troise


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