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Wall St hits record high despite weak data

Arjun Panchadar

Wall Street's three main indexes have hit all-time highs as gains by Disney and Best Buy countered weak consumer confidence data and a slump in shares of discount store operator Dollar Tree.

Walt Disney Co was the top boost to the Dow Jones on Tuesday with a 1.8 per cent rise, after a report its streaming service was averaging nearly a million new subscribers a day. The stock also propped up the benchmark S&P 500.

Rising hopes of a US-China trade truce, upbeat domestic economic data and a third-quarter corporate earnings season that has largely topped lowered expectations have put the market back on an upward track after a torrid summer.

Beijing said on Tuesday negotiators had reached a consensus on "resolving relevant problems". Hours later, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said Washington was getting "really close" to a deal but sticking points remained.

"They keep talking about the 'phase one' deal being done possibly soon, but every day is sort of a ping pong back-and-forth of will they or won't they," said Everett Millman, precious metals expert with Gainesville Coins in Tampa, Florida.

A third interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve this year has also played a role in boosting risk appetite, and Fed chair Jerome Powell said on Monday monetary policy was "well positioned" to support the strong labour market.

However, doubts over the strength of the US consumer linger and data on Tuesday showed the Conference Board's US consumer confidence index missed analysts' projections.

At 10.31am local time on Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 20.16 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 28,086.63, while the S&P 500 was up 2.10 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 3,135.74. The Nasdaq Composite was up 11.59 points, or 0.13 per cent, at 8,644.08.

Best Buy jumped 7.4 per cent as it forecast strong holiday-quarter earnings while discount store operator Dollar Tree tumbled 15 per cent after the company projected holiday-quarter profit below expectations, signalling the fallout from the trade dispute. The stock was the biggest loser on the S&P and the Nasdaq.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise fell 7.9 per cent as the enterprise software-maker missed fourth-quarter revenue estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.50-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 1.37-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 25 new 52-week highs and no new lows while the Nasdaq recorded 78 new highs and 35 new lows.