Wall Street inches up on trade optimism but growth worries weigh
By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, helped by optimism over progress in U.S.-China trade talks, but concerns about an economic slowdown after a cut in fourth-quarter GDP growth limited the day's advance
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Thursday, helped by optimism over progress in U.S.-China trade talks, but concerns about an economic slowdown after a cut in fourth-quarter GDP growth limited the day's advance.
The domestic economy slowed more than initially thought in the fourth quarter, keeping growth in 2018 below the 3 percent annual target, and corporate profits failed to rise for the first time in more than two years, data showed.
Worries about economic growth hit markets last week after the Federal Reserve abandoned projections for any interest rate hikes this year and the U.S. Treasury yield curve inverted for the first time since 2007.
The benchmark 10-year yields rose off their 15-month lows on Thursday but the yield curve prolonged its inversion. An inverted yield could indicate that a recession is likely in one to two years.
While investors cheered the Fed's move, they are more worried now about a weakening earnings and economic outlook, said Hugh Johnson, chief investment officer of Hugh Johnson Advisors LLC in Albany, New York.
"All of a sudden we've started to examine whether this is the end of the cycle. My answer is, it's not the end of the cycle - for the stock market, the economy - but there's not much left," he said.
U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday that China had made proposals in talks with the United States on a range of issues that go further than it has before, including on forced technology transfer.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Washington could lift some tariffs on Beijing, while leaving others in place as part of an enforcement mechanism on the deal.
Senior U.S. officials arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a fresh round of trade talks, which will be followed by a round in Washington next week. Trade sensitive industrial stocks rose 0.6 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 81.4 points, or 0.32 percent, to 25,706.99, the S&P 500 gained 8.45 points, or 0.30 percent, to 2,813.82 and the Nasdaq Composite added 22.27 points, or 0.29 percent, to 7,665.64.
Consumer discretionary stocks rose 0.6 percent, helped by gains in shares of PVH Corp.
The Calvin Klein owner forecast full-year adjusted profit and sales above Wall Street expectations.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.65-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.56-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 22 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 36 new highs and 39 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Diane Craft)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.