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Stocks Up on Possible Ease of Tariffs to Speed Trade Talks With China

Key U.S. stock market indices ended Thursday’s trading sessions on an upbeat note following a report that American governmental officials might ease the tariffs on Chinese goods to help speed up trade negotiations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 0.7 percent to 24,370.10, which the Nasdaq Composite Index also was up 0.7 percent to 7,084.46. The S&P 500 Index was up nearly 0.8 percent to 2,635.96.

While banks have already started posting quarterly earnings, the retail and apparel firms don’t hit their stride in earnings season until next month. VF Corp., which on Thursday saw shares climb 1.9 percent to $73.26, kicks off earnings season for retail and apparel on Friday when it reports third-quarter results. Shares of VF also rose, as did shares of Skechers USA Inc. to $26.95, or up 6.3 percent, on rumors the apparel giant might be considering an acquisition of the footwear firm.

Other top gainers in the apparel sector include G-III, up 3 percent to $34.05; Deckers at 2.4 percent to $117.57 and Tapestry Inc. at 2.3 percent to $36.12. Among the retail stocks, J.C. Penney & Co. Inc. rose nearly 3.9 percent to $1.35; The Gap Inc. up 2.7 percent to $25.59 and Target Corp. at 2.2 percent to $69.37.

The Wall Street Journal was first to report that the U.S. is considering a lift on tariffs placed on Chinese imports. A later report from CNBC said it was given a statement by the U.S. Treasury that denied the Journal’s report and indicated that there has not been any recommendation to anyone regarding tariffs or trade negotiations with China. According to the Journal’s report, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggested the possibility of rolling back tariffs while the two countries hold trade discussions. Those talks are slated to begin on Jan. 30.