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Wall Street’s festive rally pauses as investors await trade details

Wall Street hovered at record highs on Friday, as investors paused after a year-end rally that has been fueled by optimism over a U.S.-China trade truce and an improving global economy.

All three major U.S. stock indexes opened at record highs as traders cheered upbeat economic data from China, but quickly pared gains in the absence of any new information on an initial Sino-U.S. trade agreement.

The world’s top two economies announced their Phase 1 deal earlier this month, but have since disclosed few concrete details. Beijing said this week it was in close contact with Washington on the pact.

“These moves are expected in the absence of anything earth-shaking happening,” said Katrina Lamb, head of investment strategy and research at MV Financial, in Bethesda, Maryland.

“We’ve had such a long run so far that it now feels a bit overstretched.”

Robust U.S. economic data, relatively loose monetary policy and hopes of an imminent trade truce between Beijing and Washington have sent the S&P 500 index to several record highs this month.

The benchmark index is about half a percentage point shy of logging its best year since 1997, while the Nasdaq has now posted 11 straight opening records, crossing the 9,000 mark on Thursday.

Signaling resilience in the global economy, data on Friday showed China’s industrial profits grew at the fastest pace in eight months in November.

Still, some analysts have cautioned that weakness in Chinese demand remains a risk for company earnings next year.

At 10:33 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 34.29 points, or 0.12%, at 28,655.68, while the S&P 500 was flat at 3,240.11. The Nasdaq Composite was down 8.14 points, or 0.09%, at 9,014.25.

Shares of Tesla Inc touched another record high after the electric-car maker said it would begin delivering its China-made Model 3 vehicles on Dec. 30.

Netflix Inc and Alphabet Inc were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. The so-called FAANG group of stocks have logged a good run over the past decade, with shares of Netflix up 4,100% in the period.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.13-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.82-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 51 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 63 new highs and 14 new lows.

Source: Economic Times