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US: Shares seek third straight gain as GM boosts outlook

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US stocks opened slightly higher on Thursday as oil prices rose and JPMorgan's strong results boosted bank stocks.

[NEW YORK] US stocks opened higher Wednesday aiming for a third straight gain as General Motors bolstered sentiment with an improved 2016 earnings forecast and a dividend hike.

Crude oil prices appeared to stabilize, but another fall in the Shanghai stock exchange, by 2.4 per cent, remained a warning of the challenges to equity markets.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 60.64 points (0.37 per cent) at 16,576.86.

The broad-market S&P 500 advanced 9.35 (0.48 per cent) to 1,948.03, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 22.41 (0.48 per cent) to 4,708.33.

GM shares jumped 3.1 per cent after the automaker lifted its 2016 earnings forecast, raised its dividend by six per cent, and boosted its share repurchase program by US$4 billion to US$9 billion.

AFP