Wall Street extends rally, looks to close August on a strong note

Wall Street extends rally, looks to close August on a strong note”

Wall Street finished with mixed results after a choppy session on Friday, as investors digested mixed economic data and an escalating US-China trade war before a holiday weekend.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 41 points, or 0.2%, to 26,403.

President Trump said at the beginning of the week that he thought China wanted to make a trade deal, easing investors' concerns of a further escalation in tensions and sending the S&P 500 up more than 1% on Monday.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 0.3 percent at 7,996.53.

US stocks finished Thursday with broad gains for the second day in a row after an uneven start to the week.

While the major USA indexes have stemmed some of their losses from earlier this month, they remain down more than 1% for the month.

Mr Trump also lashed out of at "badly run and weak companies", saying they were blaming their problems on the tariffs.

On the economic front, U.S. pending home sales declined in July, down from the previous two consecutive months of gains, said the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Thursday. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks dropped 1.88 points, or 0.1%, to 1,494.84.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, dropped 2.5 percent to 105.6 last month.

Bond prices initially fell Friday, pushing yields higher, but then lost momentum. Gold added 0.3%, extending its run this month to more than 7%, while Treasury yields fell further.

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The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.50%.

Shares of widely-regarded trade barometers Intel and Boeing also rallied 2.36 per cent and 0.77 per cent, respectively, among the best performers in the benchmark tally.

Last week, the trade conflict escalated again with both sides threatening new tariffs on each other's goods, triggering a sharp sell-off in global markets.

Investors are also bracing for a new round of USA tariffs on some Chinese goods that would come into effect on Sunday.

Ian Williams, an economics and strategy research analyst at Peel Hunt, said in addition to the positive reaction from investors to recent comments from the US and Chinese governments, some of the strength in stocks reflected end-of-month positioning.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.38-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.05-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

Negotiators meet next month in Washington after the latest round of talks in July in Shanghai produced no sign of progress.

Campbell Soup rose 2% after reported quarterly profits that beat analysts' forecasts.

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed up 1.2% at 20,704.37 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 21 points to 25,724.73.

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