Wall Street Opens on High Note amid Renewed Hope on Trade


U.S. stocks were upbeat at the open on Friday, amid new positive signs that Washington and Beijing are moving towards at least a partial deal to end the lingering trade conflict.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said late Thursday the sides have made "enormous progress" on an agreement although it is not yet final.

After weeks of conflicting statements, including President Donald Trump throwing cold water on the claim that he had agreed to roll back some of the tariffs imposed on China, Kudlow's latest comment was enough to buoy investors.

About 15 minutes into the trading day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 0.4 percent to 27,881.87. 

The broader S&P 500 added 0.4 percent to 3,107.72 -- pushing past the latest record set Thursday -- and the Nasdaq had risen nearly 0.5 percent to 8,516.97.

"Apparently, close is enough," Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare wrote about the reaction to Kudlow's optimism.

But he noted that more concerning comments in recent days never really stalled the equities rally.

"In the market's mind, then, it never gave up on the idea that a deal could be close. If it had, there would have been a sea of red across the performance tables," he said.

China's Commerce Ministry on Thursday said the lifting of tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump was a "condition" to reaching the preliminary deal announced last month -- suggesting a deal is not imminent.

Markets got a mixed picture from economic data, including a 0.3 gain in retail sales, which masked declines in some product categories, and a bigger-than-expected drop in industrial production, hurt by the lengthy General Motors strike.