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US: Stocks lifted by consumer data, Clinton debate boost


[NEW YORK] US stocks jumped on Tuesday following surprisingly good consumer confidence data and a strong performance by Democrat Hillary Clinton in the first US presidential debate.

Consumer confidence spiked to 104.1 last month, better than analyst expectations for 98 and the highest level since the Great Recession, according to the Conference Board.

The reading boosted retailers such as Macy's and Best Buy, which gained 1.0 per cent and 2.0 per cent, respectively.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.7 per cent to 18,228.30.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.6 per cent to 2,159.93, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.9 per cent to 5,305.71.

Analysts also attributed the gains to increased investor confidence in a victory in the November election by Clinton, who is viewed as less of a wildcard for Wall Street than Republican Donald Trump. Most pundits declared Clinton the winner of the first of three debates.

"Hillary is perceived to have been the winner of the debate last night, and I think in terms of overall market sentiment, that is viewed as a net positive," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

Technology shares were strong with Facebook and Google parent Alphabet both rising 1.1 per cent, Amazon 2.1 per cent and Netflix 2.7 per cent.

Petroleum-linked shares retreated on lower oil prices, with Anadarko Petroleum losing 0.5 per cent and Halliburton 1.0 per cent.

Oil-services company Weatherford International sank 5.4 per cent on news it agreed to pay US$140 million to settle charges from US securities regulators that it inflated earnings with deceptive income tax accounting.

Amgen lost 1.1 per cent after announcing that a trial for a test treatment for multiple myeloma failed.