Markets Right Now: Stocks open higher on Wall Street

US: Wall St opens higher on hopes of trade concessions

Markets update at midafternoon

The stock market shook off two weeks of losses and ended solidly higher even as Beijing and Washington imposed tariffs on each other's goods. Investors also shrugged off concerns over an escalating trade war between the US and China.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 23.39 points (0.86 per cent) to 2,736.61, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 83.75 points (1.12 per cent) to 7,586.43.

The US announced the 25-per cent additional tariff on $34 billion of imports from China took effect on Friday, Immediately after that, China's retaliatory tariffs of equal scale went into force.

While the initial amounts of tariffs aren't all that high, costs could soar across the board for business and consumers if the conflict escalates.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 14.57 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,694.05.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 116 points, or 0.5 percent, to 24,475. The U.S. dollar index.DXY, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, has risen more than 4 percent since March 1. U.S. President Donald Trump upped the ante on Thursday night, warning that the United States may ultimately target over $500 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Investors were pleased to see that US employers kept up a brisk pace of hiring last month, without having to hike wages that much.

US crude rose 1.22 percent to $73.83 per barrel and Brent was last at $77.07, down 0.41 percent on the day. The S&P 500 is up 3 percent so far in 2018, helped by deep corporate tax cuts that have boosted companies' earnings and led to massive share buybacks.

The Russell 2000 is up 158.54 points, or 10.3 percent.

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