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U.S. Stocks Hovering Firmly In Positive Territory In Mid-Day Trading

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After showing a strong move to the upside early in the session, stocks remain firmly positive in mid-day trading on Wednesday. The major averages are partly offsetting the steep losses posted in the previous session.

Currently, the major averages are holding on to notable gains. The Dow is up 172.72 points or 0.7 percent at 26,336.76, the Nasdaq is up 76.95 points or 1 percent at 7,900.72 and the S&P 500 is up 23.62 points or 0.8 percent at 2,916.68.

The early strength on Wall Street came after a report from Bloomberg News said China is still open to reaching a partial trade deal with the U.S.

An official with direct knowledge of the talks told Bloomberg that negotiators aren't optimistic about securing a broad agreement to end the U.S.-China war but said China would accept a limited deal as long as President Donald Trump does not impose any more tariffs.

In return, the official told Bloomberg, Beijing would offer non-core concessions like purchases of agricultural products without giving in on major sticking points.

The positive reaction to the report reflects the intense focus on the next round of high-level trade talks set to begin on Thursday.

News the Trump administration imposed visa restrictions on Chinese officials over abuses of Muslim minorities contributed to the late-day sell-off on Tuesday amid concerns about the move's impact on the talks.

Optimism about the trade talks had already waned after a report from the South China Morning Post said China is subtly toning down expectations ahead of the negotiations.

News the U.S. has expanded its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence firms also cast a shadow over the talks along with a Bloomberg report the White House is discussing blocking government pension funds from investing in China.

Nonetheless, buying interest has waned since the open as traders look ahead to the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting.

The minutes may shed additional light on the Fed's decision to cut interest by 25 basis points in September and provide clues about the outlook for future rate cuts.

Sector News

Semiconductor stocks have shown a strong move back to the upside on the day, rebounding after turning in some of the market's worst performances in the previous session.

After tumbling by 3.1 percent to its lowest closing level in over a month on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index has advanced by 1.7 percent

Considerable strength is also visible among oil stocks, with the NYSE Arca Oil Index climbing by 1.3 percent. The strength in the sector comes as the price of crude oil for November delivery is jumping $0.92 to $53.55 a barrel.

Software, biotechnology, and transportation stocks are also seeing significant strength, while gold stocks are pulling back after moving sharply higher on Tuesday.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell by 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, although China's Shanghai Composite Index bucked the downtrend and rose by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved lower amid renewed optimism about the U.S.-China trade talks. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 3.8 basis points at 1.575 percent.

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