Stocks finished modestly higher Thursday as investors reacted to mixed signals about a possible U.S.-China trade deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which had been wavering most of the day, finished up 28 points, or 0.10%, to 27,677. The S&P 500 rose 0.15% and the Nasdaq advanced 0.05%.

Nike (NKE) – Get Report, Apple (AAPL) – Get Report, and UnitedHealth (UNH) – Get Report led the Dow’s advance.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said Thursday that the U.S. and China remain in close communications regarding trade. But he stuck to China’s demand that the U.S. roll back existing and pending tariffs on China-made goods to cement a so-called phase-one agreement.

“China believes if both sides reach a phase-one agreement, relevant tariffs must be lowered,” he said.

Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a state-controlled Chinese newspaper, on Wednesday dismissed U.S. optimism about a trade deal,

“I predict there is a high probability that President Trump or a senior US official will openly say in a few hours that China-US trade talks have made a big progress in order to pump up the US stock markets,” he wrote on Twitter. “They’ve been doing this a lot.”


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