New York

US shares drifted as investors weighed a disappointing sales forecast from Amazon and a better-than-expected jobs report amid signs of progress in trade talks.

The S&P 500 Index fluctuated between small gains and losses, but maintained a weekly advance exceeding 1 per cent. Tech-heavy gauges underperformed as Amazon was set for a 20 per cent pullback from its September high. Energy companies were the best performers as oil rose to the strongest in more than two months and data showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 304,000 last month, the most in almost a year.

After US stocks posted their best month in three years in January on the back of dovish Federal Reserve comments, traders are keeping a careful watch on earnings season for signals about the outlook for growth. China promised to boost purchases of US goods after the latest round of trade talks, and both sides planned further discussions.

“Having strong data back up the view that the economy is on a strong footing is good, but still there’s some lingering uncertainties out there, particularly with global trade,” said Charlie Ripley, a senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management.

The dollar was steady as US Treasury yields rose. Oil climbed past $55 a barrel in New York, reaching the highest since November, amid falling Opec production and speculation that a robust economy will fuel demand.

Elsewhere, European equities eked out a gain. The pound weakened as data showed UK manufacturing fell to a three-month low in January. Asian stocks headed for a fourth consecutive weekly advance.