landsberg bennettStocks finished higher Wednesday. The Dow added 117 points to 25,543 while the S&P 500 rose 8 points to 2,753. The Nasdaq Composite was up 5 points to 7,420.

The major averages extended gains as investors remain optimistic that the U.S. and China will agree to a new trade pact. Yesterday, President Trump suggested that he may be willing to extend the March 1st deadline if a structure is in place for a new agreement. On the economic front, an update on inflation showed consumer prices increased 1.6% year-over-year in January. CPI (excluding the volatile energy and food components) notched a 2.2% annualized advance, above the Federal Reserve’s 2% inflation target. A separate release showed mortgage applications dipped 3.7% in the most recent week.

Nine of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in positive territory with the Utilities and Communication Services the underperforming groups. Energy was up the most, climbing 1.3%, in sympathy with higher oil prices. Consumer Discretionary shares also outperformed as Home Depot added 1.6% to $188.41. Activision Blizzard was a notable gainer, increasing 7.0% to $44.57 after the video game developer announced a $1.5 billion share buyback program.

Breadth was positive on issues by 9:5 on the NYSE and 3:2 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE Volume totaled more than 3.6 billion shares.

Treasuries were weaker with the yield on the 10-year note up two basis points to 2.70%. In commodities, WTI crude added 1.7% to $53.98/barrel despite a larger than anticipated build-up in U.S. crude stockpiles. COMEX gold gained 0.1% to $1310.80/ounce despite a stronger dollar.