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  • WH advisor Kudlow says Trump and Xi could sign a trade deal at Mar-a-Lago.
  • Energy leads  gains on Friday despite oil sell-off.
  • Manufacturing sector loses momentum in February.

Major equity indexes in the U.S. started the first day of March on a positive note on renewed trade optimism but struggled to gather momentum following the disappointing macroeconomic data releases.  

The Manufacturing PMI data published by both the ISM and the IHS Markit on Friday revealed that the business activity in the manufacturing sector expanded at a softer rate than expected in February. “The PMI indicates the US manufacturing sector is growing at its weakest rate for one and a half years, with firms reporting a marked easing in production growth in February, linked to a
similar slowdown in order book growth,”  Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at the IHS Markit  said on the data.  Moreover, the UoM’s Consumer Confidence Index came in at 93.8 in February’s final reading to fall short of the market expectation of 95.7.

Also on Friday,  White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told Fox Business that  he believed that President Trump and President Xi could reach a trade deal at a planned meeting in late March at Mar-a-Lago. Although crude oil suffered heavy losses, the S&P 500 Energy Index took advantage of the renewed trade optimism and closed the day 1.8% higher. Out of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors, 8 of them closed in the positive territory.

At the end of the session,  the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 111.27 points, or 0.43%, at 26,027.27, the S&P 500 added 19.29 points, or 0.69%, to 2,803.78 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 62.82 points, or 0.83%, to 7,595.35. For the week, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4% and 0.9%, respectively, and the Dow Jones stayed virtually unchanged. By posting gains this week, the Nasdaq Composite’s weekly winning streak increased to 10, the longest streak in nearly two decades.