US stocks edge higher ahead of China trade deal signing

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange January 13, 2020. — Reuters pic
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange January 13, 2020. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Jan 15 — Wall Street stocks edged higher early today ahead of the signing of the US-China trade accord and as markets digested mixed earnings reports.

Investors have welcomed the trade deal as a sign of mellowing tensions between the two economic superpowers, but some analysts note investors have largely priced in the positive news, which could limit further gains.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.2 per cent at 29,000.03, above its all-time closing high.

The broad-based S&P 500 also added 0.2 per cent to 3,289.44, as did the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, which stood at 9,271.71.

Among individual companies, Goldman Sachs dropped 1.8 per cent as it reported lower fourth-quarter due in part to a one-time charge of US$1.1 billion for legal costs.

The charge comes as Goldman continues to pursue settlement talks with authorities, including the US Justice Department, over the firm’s work for 1MDB, the scandal-plagued Malaysian investment fund.

Among other companies reporting results, Bank of American fell 2.4 per cent and UnitedHealth Group gained 1.6 per cent.

Target plunged 6.3 per cent as the big-box retailer reported disappointing sales for the critical holiday shopping season.

Target’s comparable sales grew just 1.4 per cent in November and December, with weakness in electronics, toys and some other categories weighing on performance. — AFP

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