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US: Stocks rise, shrugging off Brexit worries

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[NEW YORK] US stocks snapped a five-day losing streak Thursday, rising despite worries about next week's British vote on whether to leave the European Union.

But sentiment remained jittery due to polls showing a tight vote in Britain on June 23.

"We're far from having priced in a worst-case scenario yet," Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, said of the Brexit vote.

Wall Street stocks appeared headed for another day of losses, but began turning higher around midday. Mr Hogan said a bounce was inevitable after five straight falls, and did not reflect improved investor confidence.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.5 per cent to 17,733.10.

The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.3 per cent to 2,077.99, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2 per cent at 4,844.92.

Larger companies posting gains included Merck, up 2.5 per cent, General Electric, 0.9 per cent and Microsoft, 1.4 per cent.

Most petroleum-linked shares fell on lower oil prices, including Marathon Oil, down 3.0 per cent, Halliburton, down 1.8 per cent and Apache, off 2.8 per cent.

Viacom rose 4.9 per cent as the media giant replaced five directors, including chairman and chief executive Philippe Dauman, further strengthening the control of Shari Redstone in the battle over the company that runs Paramount Pictures and networks MTV and Comedy Central.

American Airlines fell 4.4 per cent following a downgrade from Bank of America.