U.S. stocks are nearing record territory Thursday after the U.S. extended a trade-war olive branch to China and the European Central Bank cut rates deeper into negative territory while also relaunching its massive stimulus plan.
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President Trump said on Wednesday evening the tariff increase that was scheduled to hit $250 billion worth of Chinese goods on Oct. 1 will be delayed until Oct. 15 out of respect for the People's Republic of China celebrating its 70th anniversary. The tariff rate will increase to 30 percent from 25 percent at that time.
And on Thursday, the ECB lowered its deposit facility rate 10 basis points to -0.50 percent and said it would restart its bond-buying plan at a pace of 20 billion euros per month as of Nov 1.
All three of the major averages were up 0.3 percent at the open.
|I:DJI||DOW JONES AVERAGES||25383.11||-17.53||-0.07%|
|I:COMP||NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX||9489.872484||+120.88||+1.29%|
The early gains have all three of the major averages closing in on their record highs set in July. Traders will be watching the following levels:
- S&P 500: 3,027.98
- Dow Jones Industrial Average: 27,398.68
- Nasdaq Composite: 8,339.64
Apple was on track for a fourth straight day of gains. The tech giant rejoined the $1 trillion club on Wednesday after the previous day announcing its streaming service would be priced at $4.99 a month, undercutting rivals Netflix and Disney.
|DIS||WALT DISNEY COMPANY||117.30||+0.55||+0.47%|
Meanwhile, ExxonMobil was under pressure as oil prices slid following Wednesday's report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration which downgraded demand for the rest of the year.
|XOM||EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION||45.47||+0.43||+0.95%|
Looking at currencies, the euro was weaker by 0.5 percent near 1.0960 following the ECB's decision.
Overseas, European stocks were broadly higher, with both Germany's DAX and France's CAC gaining around 0.7 percent.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei ended the day up 0.75 percent and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.9 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lagged, slipping 0.3 percent. Hong Kong and Chinese markets will be closed on Friday for a holiday.
Investors continue to expect the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at its meeting next week in another bid by the central bank to help maintain U.S. economic growth.
The Fed raised its benchmark interest rate in July by a quarter point. That was its first hike in a decade.
Ken Martin contributed to this story.