After Wall Street’s turbulent start to the new year, major benchmark indexes are trading in the green — led by a strong jobs report, a rebound in tech shares and a fresh round of trade talks between the United States and China.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 500 points, or more than 2 percent, bolstered by a statement from China’s commerce ministry that detailed a vice ministerial-level meeting in Beijing from Jan. 7 to 8. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish is expected to lead a delegation that will convene with Chinese counterparts in next week’s sit-down.
The negotiations mark the first formal assembly between the world’s two largest economies since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day-financial ceasefire in last month’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Only a couple months remain before the trade truce reaches its deadline as tensions continue to simmer between the two countries. The upcoming meeting has stoked investors’ hopes that Washington and Beijing will end their bitter dispute, which has already seen new tariffs introduced on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports and Beijing respond with levies on $110 billion in U.S. goods. (The White House put on hold its threat to raise levies from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of those goods it newly tariffed in 2018.)
Just ahead of the new year, Trump took to Twitter to declare that “big progress” was being made in negotiations with Xi. The global tit-for-tat has already contributed to turmoil in the stock market, which in 2018 recorded its worst year of trading since the 2008 financial crisis.
The assembly also comes as the U.S. economy faces a slowdown, with fears that a number of robust economic trends will begin to temper this year. However, a better-than-expected jobs report appeared to offer some relief; employers across the country added a booming 312,000 jobs in December to bring total employment in 2018 to a three-year high of 2.6 million.
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