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US stocks rise toward records, following global tide higher

By STAN CHOE

AP Business Writer

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks pushed upward in early trading Friday, following a global tide higher, as a week clouded by uncertainty about progress in U.S.-China trade talks comes to a close.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told a visiting U.S. business delegation that Beijing is working to “try not to have a trade war” but will nevertheless fight back if necessary. It fits with comments from President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials that a trade deal may be close, though the two sides still have issues to work out.

Markets around the world have churned this week on uncertainty about whether the two sides can reach a deal by the end of the year. New U.S. tariffs are set to hit Dec. 15 on many Chinese-made items on holiday shopping checklists, including smartphones and laptops.

The S&P 500 was on pace for its first gain in four days.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 0.2%, as of 9:53 a.m. Eastern time.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 75 points, or 0.3%, to 27,842, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.2%.

NOT ENOUGH TO TURN MOMENTUM: Despite Friday’s early gains, the S&P 500 is still on pace to close the week with a 0.4% loss.

If it stays that way, it would be the first down week for the index in the last seven and end its longest winning streak in two years.

Stocks had been chugging higher on optimism that earlier worries about a possible recession were overdone. Reports in recent months showed the job market remained solid, and corporate profits held up better than expected in the summer. Interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve also helped.

RETAIL RUN: Nordstrom surged 8.1% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after the retailer said it made a bigger profit last quarter than Wall Street expected.

It was a bright spot for the retail sector after a long list of mall-based clothing retailers delivered weak third-quarter earnings reports. Macy’s cut its profit and sales forecast for the year as shoppers continue to head online instead of to the store.

RISING GLOBAL TIDE: Markets around the world climbed amid a mixed set of economic reports. Manufacturing surveys in Europe showed slightly better improvement than economists expected, though reports on services industries came in below expectations.

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.4%, and Germany’s DAX returned 0.3%. The FTSE 100 in London jumped 1.3%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.3%, South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.3% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 0.5%.

SWEET RETURNS: J.M. Smucker jumped 3.6% after it reported stronger profit for the latest quarter than Wall Street expected.

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