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China tariff exemption buoys Wall Street

Stephen Culp

Wall Street has moved higher, led by tariff-sensitive technology and industrial stocks, after China extended an olive branch ahead of next month's trade negotiations with the United States.

The S&P 500 on Wednesday closed above the 3,000 mark for the first time since July 30.

Apple provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq the day after it unveiled its latest iPhone upgrade and announced the launch date of its Apple TV+ streaming service.

Its shares rose 3.2 per cent, once more lifting the company's value above the $US1 ($A1.5) trillion mark.

The blue-chip Dow, led by Boeing, posted its sixth consecutive daily gain. Boeing, the largest US exporter by dollar value, gained 3.6 per cent.

China announced tariff exemptions for a basket of US goods, a move viewed by many investors as a show of good faith just weeks ahead of planned talks aimed at resolving the trade war, which has bruised world economies and rattled markets for months.

However, a senior White House adviser urged investors to be patient in an effort to curb expectations for the trade talks scheduled to take place next month in Washington.

"The general market still believes that a real deal is possible and all of these moves by the White House and China are simply negotiating tactics," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. "(But) that belief swings on a daily basis based on tweets and statements from China.

"Right now we're swinging a bit toward the chance of a deal being made in a reasonable time frame," Ghriskey added.

In a series of morning tweets, President Donald Trump called on the US Federal Reserve to slash interest rates into negative territory, a move typically seen as a last-ditch effort to revive sluggish economies.

"The experiment of negative interest rates has certainly proved to be flawed in both the ECB and Japan and I certainly think it's something the United States should probably try to avoid at all costs," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities in New York.

Markets still expect the Fed to cut interest rates by 25 basis points at the conclusion of its monetary policy meeting next week.

US Treasury yields rose for the third straight session ahead of the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday rose 227.61 points, or 0.85 per cent, to 27,137.04; the S&P 500 gained 21.54 points, or 0.72 per cent, to 3,000.93; and the Nasdaq Composite added 85.52 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 8,169.68.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but real estate closed in the black.

Chipmaker Micron Technology rose 2.2 per cent after Longbow Research upgraded the stock to "buy".

The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index was up 1.5 per cent.

Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes registered the biggest percentage drop in the S&P 500, falling 7.5 per cent, following news that parent General Electric would sell $US3 billion in Baker Hughes shares, resulting in a loss of GE's majority stake.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 2.53-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.97-to-1 ratio favoured advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 58 new highs and 12 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 7.59 billion shares, compared with the 6.85 billion average over the last 20 trading days.