US Stocks Post Solid Weekly Gains Amid Trade Talks

- Sep 10, 2018 -

NEW YORK - US stocks posted solid weekly gains as investors closely monitored trade talks between the United States and its neighbors while digesting a batch of key economic data.

For the week, the Dow rose 0.7 percent, the S&P climbed advanced 0.9 percent, and the Nasdaq gained 2.1 percent.

Trade concerns have kept a lid on stock gains in recent months as investors assessed the potential impact of protectionist trade policies on the global economy.

US President Donald Trump announced Monday that the United States and Mexico had reached a preliminary bilateral trade pact that would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and that Canada should join the deal or face tariffs against Canada's automobile manufacturing industry.

The United States and Canada failed to meet the Friday deadline imposed by the Trump administration to revamp the NAFTA trade agreement as major differences remain in bilateral talks.

On the economic front, consumer sentiment in the United States rose slightly in August, opposite to economists' expectation, according to University of Michigan's monthly survey. The consumer sentiment index hit 96.2 in the final reading of the month.

"Sales of both new and existing homes are roughly flat over the last six months amidst news stories of an increase in the number of homes for sale in some markets," said Blitzer.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence rose in August to its highest level since October 2000, building on July's solid result.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased to 133.4 in August, up from 127.9 in July.

"Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018," said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board.

As the US imposes steel and aluminum tariffs in violation of WTO rules, WTO members, including Russia, the European Union, India, Canada, Mexico and Norway, have now resorted to the WTO accordingly. In accordance with the rules of the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, the two parties to the dispute will hold consultations in the next step. If the consultations are not fruitful, they may refer to the WTO to set up a panel of experts to hear the case. However, the disadvantage is that it takes a long time and usually takes about two years.

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