Wall Street closed higher on Tuesday as upbeat results from Walmart boosted investor sentiment and another round of US-China trade talks began in Washington.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added eight points, or 0.03%, to 25,891, the S&P 500 rose four points, or 0.15%, to 2,780 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 14 points, or 0.19%, to 7,487 - its seventh consecutive day in the black.
Recent gains were fueled, in part, by upbeat expectations surrounding US-China trade negotiations held in Beijing. Talks resumed this week in Washington, with US Chamber of Commerce vice-president Myron Brilliant expressing hope that “the two sides will reach a comprehensive, bold and significant trade agreement.”
However, stocks pared gains late in the session after a Reuters report quoted New York Fed President John Williams saying a different economic outlook would be necessary for the US Federal Reserve to resume its interest rate hikes. On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee is slated to release minutes from its January policymaking meeting.
Walmart’s shares surged 2.2% after the world’s largest retailer reported a better-than-expected jump in same-store sales during the holiday quarter.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, all but healthcare and industrials closed in positive territory. Consumer discretionary stocks, led by Amazon.com, provided the biggest lift to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
Amazon ended the session up 1.2%, bouncing back from a two-day sell-off following news that the e-commerce giant’s China unit is in merger talks with Chinese shopping site Kaola.
Shares of Freeport McMoRan jumped 6.6% after Citigroup raised the stock to “buy” from “neutral.”
Advance Auto Parts Inc. shares slid 1.7% after the firm reported fourth-quarter profits that topped analyst forecasts but saw same-store sales growth fall short.
Shares of Medtronic Plc edged up 0.1% after the medical device manufacturer reported fiscal third-quarter profits and sales that beat analysts’ forecasts.
In Asia, shares mostly traded higher on Wednesday in morning session, following the gains seen on Wall Street overnight.
Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.51% in morning trade while the Topix gained 0.38%. Over in South Korea, the Kospi added 0.76%. The ASX 200 in Australia erased earlier gains to trade 0.23% lower as the sectors traded mixed.
In China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.04%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was trading 0.94% higher.