By Shreyashi Sanyal
(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes were on course to snap a three-day losing streak on Wednesday, following a report that the United States and China were moving closer to signing a ‘phase-one’ trade deal.
Washington and Beijing are getting close to agreeing on the amount of tariffs to be rolled back, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, a day after comments from President Donald Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross dampened hopes of a possible near-term agreement.
The comments had pushed all the three major stock indexes further away from last week’s record highs that were fueled by optimism that an interim deal between the two countries was in the works. The S&P 500 index () is now about 2% away from its record high.
“China and United States are playing a game of poker,” said Mark Grant, chief global strategist at B. Riley FBR Inc.
“They make these comments on hopes of moving the other side and it’s difficult to figure out what the reality is, but these certainly move the market if they look more promising or less promising everyday.”
The back-and-forth on trade has also made investors wary after the final month of 2018 was the worst December on Wall Street since the Great Depression.
Tariff-exposed semiconductor companies attempted a comeback on Wednesday, with Micron Technology Inc (O:), Nvidia Corp (O:) and Intel Corp (O:) rising between 0.5% and 1.5% in premarket trading. Shares of Apple Inc (O:) gained 0.6%.
Markets had a slight knee-jerk reaction to the ADP (NASDAQ:) National Employment Report, which showed U.S. private employers added the fewest jobs in six months in November, well shy of economists’ expectations.
A reading of the ISM services PMI set to be released later in the day is expected to be 54.5 in November, compared to 54.7 in October.
At 8:36 a.m. ET, were up 126 points, or 0.46%.
Among stocks, Google-parent Alphabet Inc (O:) rose 0.6% as Sundar Pichai took over as chief executive officer after Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped aside.
Johnson & Johnson (N:) gained 1% after it said on Tuesday that recent tests showed that Johnson’s Baby Powder was free of asbestos.
Campbell Soup Co (N:) fell 1% after lowering its sales forecast for fiscal 2020.
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