NEW YORK :
US stocks edged higher on Wednesday, extending a strong start to the quarter as rising hopes of a trade deal with Beijing boosted investor sentiment.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that talks between the United States and China have progressed and that both sides hope to get closer to a deal this week.
Shares of chipmakers, which are heavily reliant on China for their revenue, especially benefited. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index jumped as much as 3% to a record high. The index was last 2.4% higher.
Advanced Micro Devices Inc shares gained 9.3%, the most on the S&P 500, and Intel Corp shares rose 2.0% after Nomura Instinet started coverage of both the stocks with "buy" ratings.
The positive sentiment on trade outweighed underwhelming economic data.
The Institute for Supply Management came out with its US services sector PMI for March, which was below estimates and at its lowest since August 2017.
Earlier, the ADP National Employment Report showed US private employers added 129,000 jobs in March, below economists' estimates.
"It's the push-and-pull hope of a trade deal versus the stark reality of disappointing economic news," said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at Bruderman Asset Management in New York.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13.37 points, or 0.05%, to 26,192.5, the S&P 500 gained 4.52 points, or 0.16%, to 2,871.76 and the Nasdaq Composite added 45.12 points, or 0.57%, to 7,893.80.
The gains put the S&P 500 index just 2% below a record high in September as a dovish Federal Reserve and trade hopes set the stage for a strong start to the quarter.
Boeing Co capped gains on the Dow, dropping 1.3% after Baird said it expects Wall Street to cut earnings estimates "considerably" after the company reports delivery numbers next week. The numbers could reflect the 737-MAX groundings following the Ethiopian crash, Baird said.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.64-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.52-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 57 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 79 new highs and 28 new lows.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.