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U.S. Stocks Reach Record Highs On Upbeat Comments About Trade Talks

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Following the lackluster performance seen over the past few sessions, stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Friday. With the upward move, the major averages have all reached new record intraday highs.

Currently, the major averages are hovering firmly in positive territory. The Dow is up 107.23 points or 0.4 percent at 27,889.19, the Nasdaq is up 41.12 points or 0.5 percent at 8,520.13 and the S&P 500 is up 11.93 points or 0.4 percent at 3,108.56.

The strength on Wall Street comes amid renewed optimism about a U.S.-China trade deal following comments from White House officials.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday that U.S. and Chinese negotiators are in contact every single day and are "getting close" to a phase one trade deal.

"It's not done yet, but there has been very good progress and the talks have been very constructive," Kudlow said at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In an appearance on the Fox Business Network on Friday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the talks are "down to the last details" and a deal will be completed "in all likelihood."

Adding to the positive sentiment, China has lifted a nearly five-year ban on imports of U.S. poultry in a goodwill gesture that could lead to more than $1 billion in annual shipments to China.

Traders have also reacted positively to a report from the Commerce Department showing U.S. retail sales rebounded by slightly more than expected in the month of October.

The Commerce Department said retail sales climbed by 0.3 percent in October, reversing the 0.3 percent drop in September. Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.2 percent.

Excluding a rebound in auto sales, the report said retail sales rose by 0.2 percent in October after edging down by 0.1 percent in September. Ex-auto sales had been expected to increase by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, traders have shrugged off a report from the Federal Reserve showing a steep drop in industrial production in October, as the decrease was partly due to the since-resolved strike at General Motors (GM).

Biotechnology stocks have shown a strong move to the upside in morning trading, driving the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index up by 1.3 percent to a three-month intraday high.

Considerable strength has also emerged among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.1 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials (AMAT) is posting a standout gain after reporting better than expected fiscal fourth quarter results and providing upbeat guidance.

Healthcare, natural gas and steel stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday, although Chinese stocks bucked the uptrend. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.7 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced by 0.9 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has dipped by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back ground are moving notably higher over the past few days. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.2 basis points at 1.827 percent.

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