Wall Street rally builds on trade optimism

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Stocks spiked higher in afternoon trading after the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports and suggested offering a tariff rollback during trade discussions scheduled for January 30.

Industrial stocks, which have been sensitive to trade developments, jumped 1.4 percent after the Wall Street Journal report.

Adding to the upbeat mood, latest data showed USA manufacturing output increased by the most in 10 months in December, which could allay fears of a sharp slowdown in factory activity. More importantly, Trump has broken with previous US administrations and deployed the only leverage that matters to an export-oriented country like China: the credible threat of loss of market access.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 49.77 points, or 0.71 percent, to 7,084.46. The Americans' major sticking points were more prominent issues than China's import plans during the latest round of talks in Beijing, one of the people said.

China's Vice Premier and lead negotiator Liu He is due to visit Washington for the next round of talks with Lighthizer and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at the end of the month.

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That follows lower-level negotiations held in Beijing last week to resolve the bitter dispute between the world's two largest economies by March 2, when the Trump administration is scheduled to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Global stock markets rose but then fell back after the meeting produced no agreements.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 gained 1.4 percent to 6,932 and Germany's DAX advanced 1.5 percent to 11,079.

Expectations for easing trade tensions between the US and China continued to buoy stock markets on Friday, putting most major indexes on track to end the week higher.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.79 percent from 2.74 percent. CEO Elon Musk said the cuts are meant to reduce costs as the company lowers the price for its cars.

Volume on US exchanges was 7.19 billion shares, compared to the 8.58 billion average over the last 20 trading days. Brent crude was up 0.6 per cent at $61.56 per barrel and on track to gain roughly 2 per cent on the week.

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The New Taiwan dollar yesterday ended unchanged against the USA dollar at NT$30.842, but slid 0.1 percent from NT$30.802 on January 11.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX rose 1.80 percent and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 1.18 percent.

In other commodities trading, wholesale gasoline rose 1.6 percent to $1.45 a gallon and heating oil added 1.6 percent to $1.92 a gallon.

Also helping to boost stocks on Thursday was a rebound in financial shares, which ended 0.5 percent higher after having dropped as much as 1 percent. The euro gained to $1.1393 from $1.1388.

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