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Stocks - Dow Ends Flat, but Logs Big Monthly Gain

Investing.com - The Dow racked up solid gains for the month despite closing flat Thursday, as a slump in DowDuPont offset gains in tech.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed flat, but gained 8% for the month. The S&P 500 rose 0.86%, while the Nasdaq Composite surged 1.37%.

Investors digested a slew of earnings today, including a downbeat report from DowDuPoint that weighed on the blue chip index.

DowDuPont (NYSE:DWDP) shares sank 9% after the conglomerate reported revenue of $20.1 billion, missing expectations for $20.95 billion. Earnings were marginally ahead of estimates at $0.88 a share.

Materials slipped 1.5% for the day.

But there was also a rally in tech stocks as investors cheered a bullish report from Facebook, prompting a string of bullish calls from Wall Street analysts.

Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) fourth-quarter profit topped analysts' estimates, driven by a surge in advertising income on the back of impressive user additions.

“This story is starting to get good,” Morgan Stanley said in a note, as it raised its price target on Facebook's stock to $190.

Elsewhere on the earnings front, Charter Communications ' (NASDAQ:CHTR) above-consensus quarterly results sent its shares surging 14%. But Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) miss on the top line dragged its share price 2% lower.

The energy sector, meanwhile, delivered a modest boost to the broader index as falling oil prices limited gains.

A positive turn of events in U.S.-China talks moments before the bell also triggered some rapid-fire buying across Wall Street.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said in letter that he hopes to accelerate the 90-day consultation between the two parties in bid to strike a deal with the United States. The vice premier also confirmed Beijing would ramp up purchases of U.S. agriculture products, including five million tonnes of soybeans per day from U.S. farmers.

President Donald Trump told reporters he was confident "every point (on trade) will be agreed to" when he meets with President Xi Jinping, though he appeared reluctant to provide further details about a future meeting.

Trump said he had no plans to extend the current 90-day trade war beyond March 1, despite U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer conceding that there was still much work to be done to reach a consensus on a trade deal.

Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:

Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), General Electric (NYSE:GE) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.

DowDuPont (NYSE:DWDP), H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) and Tractor Supply (NASDAQ:TSCO) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.

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