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US: Stocks bounce back on dovish Fed comments

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[NWE YORK] Wall Street stocks bounced back Monday after a top Federal Reserve official argued against hiking interest rates quickly.

Fed Governor Lael Brainard said the US central bank should adopt a "moderate and gradual" approach to lifting rates and avoid moves to "tighten policy preemptively".

Her remarks stood in contrast to comments from more hawkish Fed officials on Friday that had led to a more than two per cent drop in US stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.3 per cent to 18,325.07.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.5 per cent to 2,159.04, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.7 per cent to 5,211.89.

Technology companies were among the biggest gainers, with Apple winning 2.3 per cent, Microsoft 1.5 per cent and Netflix 2.6 per cent.

Shares of Potash Corp dropped 1.2 per cent, while rival Agrium lost 2.7 per cent after the companies announced a merger to create the largest crop nutrient company in the world.

Perrigo surged 7.4 per cent after activist fund Starboard Value announced it took a 4.6 per cent stake in the maker of the over-the-counter medicine. Starboard called for changes to "reverse the trajectory of poor operating and financial performance" at Perrigo.

HP Inc rose 3.9 per cent following its move to buy Samsung Electronics' printer business for US$1.05 billion.

Tesla Motors rose 2.0 per cent after announcing that it upgraded its Autopilot software to use more advanced radar technology.

Polaris Industries, a maker of snowmobiles, motorcycles and other vehicles, dropped 5.0 per cent after slashing its profit forecast due to delays in recalling some off-road vehicles and in launching some 2017 models.