By ALEX VEIGA
The Associated Press
Stocks rose on Wall Street Thursday after the U.S. and China took steps to ease tensions in their costly trade war, putting investors in a buying mood.
Technology, financial and consumer-focused stocks helped power the modest rally, which extended the market's solid gains from the day before despite losing some momentum in the final hour of trading. The benchmark S&P 500 index closed within 0.6% of its all-time high set July 26.
The U.S. agreed to delay another round of tariffs on Chinese imports by two weeks to Oct. 15. Meanwhile, Chinese importers have asked U.S. suppliers for prices for soybeans, pork and other farm goods - a sign they might step up purchases of American agricultural products.
The gestures stoked cautious optimism among investors that the next round of trade talks in October between Washington and Beijing may lead to some progress after a string of failed attempts at resolving the longstanding dispute.
"What's driving markets today is the potential for an interim trade deal," said Tony Roth, chief investment officer at Wilmington Trust. "There's enough pain to (China's) domestic economy and there's enough pain to our domestic economy that it's in both presidents' interests to take a step back and have a little bit of breathing room right now. That's what's changed."
The S&P 500 index rose 8.64 points, or 0.3%, to 3,009.57. The Dow Jones Industrial Average extended its winning streak to a seventh straight day, gaining 45.41 points, or 0.2%, to 27,182.45.
The Nasdaq added 24.79 points, or 0.3%, to 8,194.47. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gave up an early gain, sliding 0.65 point to 1,575.07.
The U.S.-China talks have basically gone nowhere since early May, when the two sides appeared to be nearing a deal. Along the way, the countries have slapped import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of each other's products.