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US: Stocks rally ahead of big earnings reports

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks scored solid gains on Monday ahead of a heavy week of corporate earnings and after China reported better-than-expected first quarter growth.

The earnings calendar this week includes Goldman Sachs, Netflix and General Electric. Companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report 9.2 per cent growth in first-quarter earnings, according to FactSet.

Chinese economic growth came in at 6.9 per cent in the first quarter, better than the 6.8 per cent expected by analysts and a sign of stabilisation in the world's second-biggest economy.

Analysts said geopolitical concerns were still important, but investors took heart after there were no major international incidents over the weekend. Stocks sold off late last week ahead of the holiday weekend on anxiety about North Korea and Syria.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.9 per cent to close the session at 20,636.86.

The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.9 per cent to end the day at 2,349.01, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.9 per cent to finish at 5,856.79.

Technology companies with solid gains of 1.5 per cent or more included Amazon, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet.

Boeing won 1.9 per cent on news that it plans to cut hundreds of engineering jobs in a response to slowing commercial airplane sales.

Metals company Arconic, a recent spinoff from aluminum giant Alcoa, rose 3.1 per cent on news that Klaus Kleinfeld would step down as chief executive in the wake of pressure from Elliott Management.

Alere, which sells diagnostic tools to the health industry, surged 15.9 per cent after it agreed to amend the terms of its sale to Abbott for US$5.3 billion, down from US$5.8 billion when it was announced in January 2016.

The moves put the deal back on track after Abbott had said it might not be completed. Abbott Laboratories gained 1.5 per cent.

Eli Lilly dropped 4.1 per cent on news the US Food and Drug Administration did not approve the drugmaker's application for baricitinib, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

AFP

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