US stocks boosted by strong consumer data

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New York (AFP)

Wall Street stocks were mostly higher at mid-morning on Friday, largely shaking off trade war-related uncertainty after a report said US consumer sentiment was at a 15-year high.

Near 1535 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.5 percent at 25,912.75.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 percent at 2,879.62, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite shed 0.1 percent to 7,890.88.

Analysts attributed the market's weak open to downcast reports in the Chinese media on the prospects for an agreement between Beijing and Washington.

But stocks shot into positive territory after a University of Michigan report estimated consumer sentiment in early May at the highest level since 2004.

"Consumers viewed prospects for the overall economy much more favorably," the report said.

"You have the highest consumer sentiment reading in 15 years, which supports the idea that US is in a decent position to withstand these outside pressures," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

"A lot of the trade deal angst seems to have been mitigated by that number."

Still, the preliminary Michigan report itself included a trade-related caveat, noting that most of the data came from before the latest dustup between China and the United States.

"Even apart from the direct impact of tariffs on prices, rising tariffs could cause a more general loss of confidence which could further diminish the pace of consumer spending," the report said.

Among individual companies, Deere & Company fell 5.3 percent after lowering its financial forecast for the year, citing "softening conditions" in the agricultural sector.

Pinterest dropped 11.4 percent on disappointment over its full-year sales forecast, which lagged some analyst forecasts.