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US: Stocks rise again as Brexit fears fade

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[NEW YORK] US stocks posted gains for the third straight session on Thursday as worries continued to diminish about the economic hit to the United States from the British exit of the European Union.

Analysts said Wall Street investors feel increasing confidence the United States will not feel significant effects from Brexit, even as the resulting political uncertainty in Europe drags on growth in Britain and the European Union.

"It won't be the Brexit that will take the market down," said Charlie Bilello of Pension Partners.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.3 per cent to 17,929.99.

The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 1.4 per cent to 2,098.86, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.3 per cent to 4,842.67.

Major gainers in the Dow included Boeing, Caterpillar, General Electric and IBM, all of which won more than two per cent.

Financial stocks were broadly higher after the Federal Reserve gave the green light to 31 of 33 banks to return capital to shareholders following stress tests. JPMorgan Chase rose 1.5 per cent, Goldman Sachs 2.1 per cent and Wells Fargo 0.8 per cent.

Pay television network Starz rose 5.9 per cent on news it agreed to be acquired by Hollywood studio Lionsgate for US$4.4 billion. Lionsgate fell 3.4 per cent.

Hershey surged 16.8 per cent as it rejected a preliminary takeover bid of about US$23 billion from food giant Mondelez. Mondelez rose 5.9 per cent.

Visa and MasterCard fell 3.4 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively, on news that a US appeals court rejected a US$5.7 billion settlement over swipe fees, potentially opening the two credit card companies to more litigation with merchants.