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Flags of U.S. and China are placed for a 2017 meeting between Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and China's Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu at the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing, China. Photo By Jason Lee/Reuters

Stocks edge higher on hopes for China trade deal

NEW YORK — Stocks are edging higher on Wall Street in morning trading following reports that the U.S. and China are moving closer to a deal to resolve their costly trade dispute.

The world’s two largest economies have pulled back from an immediate escalation of their damaging trade war since they started negotiating last month.

President Donald Trump postponed a deadline for raising tariffs on more Chinese goods, citing progress in a series of talks. Now, media reports say the nations could strike a deal this month.

The main sticking point for the U.S. is China’s technological ambitions. The U.S. has accused China of stealing technology and forcing companies to turn over technology in order to do business.

Tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by both nations have raised prices on a variety of goods. China could be close to a deal that would cut tariffs on U.S. farm, auto and other products and the U.S. is considering removing most sanctions on imports, according to media reports.

WATCH: Who holds the power in potential U.S.-China trade war?

Technology stocks, industrial and internet companies were among the biggest gainers in early trading. Homebuilders, including PulteGroup and Lennar, rose following a report that showed 2018 was a record year for construction spending. AT&T fell after it said it will reorganize its WarnerMedia unit.

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