landsberg bennettStocks ended firmly higher on Wednesday amid optimism on the trade front. The Dow rallied 181 points, while the S&P 500 jumped 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1%.

Media outlets revealed China is open to a partial trade deal with the U.S., despite reports yesterday that Washington placed restrictions on Chinese companies and government officials connected to alleged human rights violations. Beijing also indicated a willingness to increase purchases on agricultural products, but noted negotiators would not concede on key sticking points. The boost in investor sentiment came ahead of planned high-level negotiations on Thursday.

In central bank news, the Federal Reserve revealed the minutes of the September FOMC meeting. The release showed officials debated when to end monetary policy easing in light of growing risks to the U.S. economy. On the data front, The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed job openings unexpectedly fell to 7.05 million in August, the lowest level since March 2018. Treasuries weakened with the yield on the benchmark 10-year note up three basis points to 1.58%

All 11 S&P 500 sectors ended in positive territory, with four groups adding more than 1%. Technology stocks paced the gains amid a rally in chipmakers. In corporate news, Johnson & Johnson declined 1.9% after being ordered to pay $8 billion in a drug related lawsuit. Target added 1.7% following positive analyst comments surrounding its ecommerce partnership with the parent company of Toys R Us.

In commodities, WTI crude added 0.1% to $52.69/barrel. COMEX gold gained 0.7% to $1,507.00/ounce.