May 22, 2018 / 4:20 PM / 3 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St edges higher as U.S.-China trade talks progress

* Ford, GM rise after China cuts car import tariffs

* Banks gain on hopes of post-crisis bill being passed

* Kohl’s falls on slower-growth warning, drags retailers

* Toll Brothers disappointing results hit homebuilders

* Dow down 0.12 pct, S&P up 0.13 pct, Nasdaq up 0.07 pct (Changes comment, adds details, updates prices)

By Medha Singh

May 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Tuesday, led by financial and energy stocks, as the United States and China made progress on ironing out their trade differences and reach an agreement.

Washington neared a deal to lift its ban on U.S. firms supplying Chinese telecoms gear maker ZTE Corp, sources said on Tuesday, while Beijing said it will steeply cut import tariffs for automobiles and car parts.

That pushed up shares of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler between 0.6 percent and 1.3 percent, but the broader industrial sector dipped 0.4 percent, a day after posting its best one-day percent gain in nearly two months as the China-U.S. trade spat was put “on hold”.

The consumer discretionary index fell 0.2 percent on disappointing quarterly reports from retailer Kohl’s and homebuilder Toll Brothers.

“I don’t think today there is any news that’s particularly concerning other than disappointing guidance from Kohl’s and disappointing results from Toll Brothers,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

“I don’t think it’s anything other than some profit taking.”

At 11:53 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 30.45 points, or 0.12 percent, at 24,982.84, the S&P 500 was up 3.56 points, or 0.13 percent, at 2,736.57 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 4.93 points, or 0.07 percent, at 7,398.96.

Eight of the 11 major indexes were trading higher. The financials sector gained 0.9 percent on hopes that a bill aimed at easing rules, put in place after the financial crisis, could be passed into law as soon as this week, helping banks.

The energy sector advanced 0.6 percent as oil prices rose on supply concerns.

Among stocks, Micron jumped 6.7 percent after the compay announced a $10 billion share buyback program.

Steel stocks gained, led by a 3.5 percent jump in AK Steel and U.S. Steel, after the United States said it would impose steep import duties on steel products that originated in China but were shipped from Vietnam to evade anti-dumping and anti-subsidy orders.

Kohl’s tumbled 6.9 percent, weighing on other retailers, after warning of slower growth in the second half of the year. Macy’s fell 3.8 percent.

Toll Brothers sank 7.5 percent after posting disappointing quarterly profit and margins, while its comments on costs hit other homebuilders. The PHLX housing index fell 1 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.52-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.27-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 29 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 131 new highs and 26 new lows. (Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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