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Market Commentary: US negotiations over stimulus continue amid diplomatic tensions

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·           Investors are assessing simmering tensions between the US and China, as well as progress in talks between Democrats and Republicans on negotiating a broader additional virus relief package. Value stocks, which tend to outperform growth coming out of a recession, have seen a lift in recent days.

·           The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.3% to 27,791.44. The S&P 500 gained 0.27% to 3,360.47 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.39%, to 10,968.36.

·           As energy and industrial sectors led gains, chipmakers led declines amid renewed tensions with China. Tech has been one of the few resilient sectors and analysts believe a pullback is not unusual. Oil gained the most in almost three weeks after Saudi Aramco said demand will continue to improve.

·           The S&P 500 is within earshot of an all-time high. Whether it breaks through that psychologically important barrier depends on how the market is able to take looming trade tensions and Washington’s antics in stride.

·           US President Donald Trump had signed executive orders on Saturday that partly restored enhanced unemployment benefits after talks between the White House and top Democrats in Congress about fresh stimulus broke down last week but it remains to be seen if his actions have any benefits. Steven Mnuchin said that Democrats’ insistence on almost US$1 trillion for aid to state and local governments is “absurd,” but maintained a deal is still possible.

·           Investors are also assessing simmering tensions between the US and China, as China said it will sanction 11 Americans in retaliation for similar measures imposed by the US on Friday, but the list doesn’t include any members of the Trump administration.

·           China’s industrial activity picked up in July, boosting hopes for an economic recovery and driving early gains in European stocks. In Europe, stocks advanced led by financial companies.

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