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* China to halve extra tariffs on some U.S. imports
* U.S. weekly jobless claims hit nine-month low
* Becton Dickinson tumbles after forecast cut
* Twitter advances as quarterly revenue tops $1 bln
* Indexes up: Dow 0.31%, S&P 0.31%, Nasdaq 0.61% (Updates to mid-afternoon)
Feb 6 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks gained for a fourth straight session on Thursday and Wall Street’s main indexes hit record highs amid growing confidence in China’s efforts to contain the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
China said it would halve additional tariffs levied against some U.S. goods, seen by analysts as a move to boost confidence after the fast-spreading coronavirus disrupted businesses and hit investor sentiment.
Data showing that the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped to a nine-month low last week also fueled positive sentiment, with investors casting an eye toward Friday’s monthly U.S. employment report.
“Maybe cooler heads have prevailed regarding the long-term impact of coronavirus,” said James Ragan, director of wealth management research at D.A. Davidson in Seattle. The main reasons driving stocks higher on the day were economic data and the fact that “largely, earnings reports have been positive,” he said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 92.26 points, or 0.31%, to 29,383.11, the S&P 500 gained 10.34 points, or 0.31%, to 3,345.03, and the Nasdaq Composite added 57.53 points, or 0.61%, to 9,566.22.
Among S&P 500 sectors, communication services and technology led the way, while energy fell the most.
Even with optimism about containing the broad economic damage from the coronavirus, the impact of the health emergency in China continued to show up in corporate reports. Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc flagged a potential threat to the mobile phone industry from the outbreak. Its shares fell 1.2%.
Investors were also digesting the acquittal on Wednesday of U.S. President Donald Trump on impeachment charges.
“The outcome was fairly well telegraphed and I think widely believed, but it ends the chapter for now and I think that is a modest positive for investor sentiment,” Ragan said.
With the fourth-quarter corporate reporting season more than halfway completed, S&P 500 companies are expected to have increased earnings by 2.1% for the period, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
In earnings news, Becton Dickinson and Co shares slid 10.7%, contributing the biggest drag on the S&P 500, after the medical technology company cut its 2020 forecast.
Kellogg shares slumped 7.9% after the breakfast cereal maker forecast full-year earnings that widely missed market expectations.
Twitter shares soared 17.7% after the social media company reported $1 billion in quarterly revenue for the first time.
Philip Morris International shares rose 3.1% after the tobacco company released results.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.11-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.04-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 60 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 111 new highs and 34 new lows. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf Additional reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru Editing by Leslie Adler)
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