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Markets Right Now: Stocks Rise on Hopes for Tariff Cuts

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NEW YORK (AP) —  U.S. stocks are closing with solid gains after the Wall Street Journal reported that some U.S. officials want to reduce the Trump administration's new tariffs on Chinese imports.

Technology and industrial companies jumped Thursday. Nvidia rose 1.9 percent and Boeing added 2 percent.

Health care companies also rose, with Merck gaining 1.3 percent.

Defense contractors climbed after President Donald Trump called for a space-based missile defense system following a strategy review by the Pentagon. Northrop Grumman rose 3.3 percent.

Signet Jewelers sank 24.7 percent after saying it had a difficult holiday season.

The S&P 500 index gained 19 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,635.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 162 points, or 0.7 percent, to 24,370. The Nasdaq composite gained 49 points, or 0.7 percent, to 7,084.

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12:00 p.m.

U.S. stocks are flat at midday as banks fell after a series of disappointing quarter reports.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley dropped 4.6 percent Thursday after its revenue fell short of analyst expectations.

Railroad operator CSX fell  0.5 percent Thursday after it forecast slower revenue growth in 2019.

High-dividend stocks including utilities and real estate companies made small gains.

The top U.S. and Chinese trade envoys will hold talks later this month in a possible sign of progress toward resolving their dispute.

The S&P 500 index gained 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,621.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 7 points to 24,198. The Nasdaq composite gained 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,047.

___________

9:35 a.m.

U.S. stocks are opening slightly lower as banks fell after a series of disappointing quarter reports.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley dropped 4.2 percent Tuesday after its revenue fell short of analyst expectations.

Railroad operator CSX fell 2.3 percent Tuesday after it forecast slower revenue growth in 2019.

High-dividend stocks including utilities and real estate companies made small gains.

The top U.S. and Chinese trade envoys will hold talks later this month in a possible sign of progress toward resolving their dispute.

The S&P 500 index gave up 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,611.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 55 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,152. The Nasdaq composite slid 22 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,012.

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