US stocks climb as investors hang hopes on stimulus progress and US-China trade talks

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  • US stocks climbed on Wednesday as investors remained hopeful for a stimulus bill breakthrough.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that Democrats and the Trump administration hope to reach a deal by the end of the week.
  • Fears of rising US-China tensions eased following reports that senior officials from both countries will meet on August 15 to discuss their “phase one” trade deal.
  • Still, ADP jobs data offered a bleak look at the US economic recovery. The country added 167,000 private payrolls in July, well below the 1.2 million estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US equities rose on Wednesday as optimism around passing a second stimulus bill outweighed dismal jobs data.

Republicans and Democrats face increasing pressure to ink a deal on a second round of fiscal relief. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that the White House and Democratic legislators hope to finalise a deal by the end of the week. Still, disagreements on unemployment insurance expansion and the overall package’s size stand in the way of a breakthrough.

Hiring data released by ADP on Wednesday showed private payrolls in the US increasing by 167,000 in July. The reading lands well below the 1.2 million estimate from economists surveyed by Bloomberg and the revised 4.3 million increase seen in June.

Here’s where US indexes stood shortly after the 9:30 a.m. ET open on Wednesday:


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Investors also weighed reports of US-China trade negotiations set to start later this month. The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday that senior US and Chinese officials will discuss the countries’ “phase one” trade deal on August 15, six months after the agreement was made. News of the talks comes after recently inflamed tensions between the economic superpowers spooked markets.

A better-than-expected quarterly performance by Disney helped boost major indexes in early trading. The company posted a surprise profit of 8 cents per share and announced it surpassed 100 million subscribers across its Disney Plus, ESPN+, and Hulu streaming services.


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Novavax shares surged after the biotech firm revealed its COVID-19 vaccine “was generally well-tolerated and elicited robust antibody responses” in an early-stage study.

High-flying Nikola Motors sank in early trading after the company missed expectations in its first-ever earnings report. The automaker’s quarterly loss swelled to $US86.6 million from $US16.8 million in the year-ago period. Losses per share reached 16 cents compared to the analyst estimate of 13 cents. Analysts on Nikola’s earnings call pressed the firm for not revealing more details on future sales or product rollouts.


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Gold spot prices rose to a new record high after passing the $US2,000 per ounce level on Tuesday. The precious metal has rallied in recent weeks amid fears of a weakening dollar and broad shift to safe-haven assets.

Oil jumped after a deadly explosion in Lebanon prompted new fears of market volatility in the region. West Texas Intermediate crude gained as much as 4.4%, to $US43.52 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international standard, climbed 4.1%, to $US46.23 per barrel, at intraday highs.


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