Shares of industrial and transportation companies rose as talk of a tax cut in the U.S. and economic stimulus in China mitigated fears of a global economic slowdown.

One data point suggested that the slowdown in industrial activity over the summer was not as bad as feared. Wholesale inventories increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in July from the prior month, matching economists' targets.

"I tend to think the slowdown has started and it won't be so easy to reverse it," said Lorenzo Di Mattia, manager of hedge fund Sibilla Global Fund. The sense of relief about the trade dispute "just because they said they were talking" appears to be premature, Mr. Di Mattia said.

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