© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York City, U.S.

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks hit record levels on Thursday after President Donald Trump tweeted that the United States was “very close” to a trade deal with China and on a report that U.S. trade negotiators had offered to cancel a fresh round of tariffs on Chinese goods.

The three main indexes opened lower but quickly gained ground after Trump’s statement, which comes just days before the tariffs go into effect on Dec. 15.

The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. negotiators have offered to slash existing tariffs by as much as half on roughly $360 billion of Chinese-made goods, supporting the bounce.

“What Trump is saying and what China is responding to would suggest that maybe we are more at a status quo level of a detente than at further deterioration in relationships,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird.

“We want to see evidence that things aren’t deteriorating and if tariffs are getting delayed or rolled back, that’s evidence.”

Markets also took comfort from the Federal Reserve’s move on Wednesday to hold interest rates steady.

The record run in U.S. stocks has been supported by three rate cuts this year, a calmer tone on trade and some relief in corporate earnings. The S&P 500 index () is now up more than 26% so far this year.

Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits jumped to more than a two-year high last week, while another report showed U.S. producer prices were unexpectedly unchanged in November.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average () was up 282.08 points, or 1.01%, at 28,193.38, the S&P 500 () was up 31.96 points, or 1.02%, at 3,173.59 and the Nasdaq Composite () was up 88.00 points, or 1.02%, at 8,742.05.

Starbucks Corp (O:) rose 2.6% after J.P. Morgan raised its rating on the coffee chain to “overweight”.

General Electric (N:) climbed 4% after UBS upgraded the industrial conglomerate’s shares to “buy”.

Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc (N:) jumped 4.3% as the carrier forecast increase in profit and revenue in 2020.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.95-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.85-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 73 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 147 new highs and 28 new lows.

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2019-12-12