US: Stocks rise on Ukraine deal, Cisco earnings

[NEW YORK] US stocks posted solid gains on Thursday, rallying on news of a ceasefire in Ukraine as strong earnings from Cisco lifted the technology sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 110.24 points (0.62 per cent) to 17,972.38.

The broad-based S&P 500 jumped 19.95 (0.96 per cent) to 2,088.48, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index surged 56.43 (1.18 per cent) to 4,857.61.

The US gains followed a strong day for European equities after the announcement of a peace roadmap between Kiev and pro-Russian rebels. Still Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and others cautioned that implementing the agreement would not be easy.

Dow component Cisco jumped 9.4 per cent after reporting that second-quarter earnings surged 68 per cent to US$2.24 billion. Other tech names to rise included Apple (+1.2 per cent) and Google (+1.3 per cent).

The gains came despite data showing US retail sales fell 0.8 per cent in January and that unemployment claims rose last week above the 300,000 line.

Large banks advanced, with Dow component JPMorgan Chase rising 2.1 percent and Citigroup tacking on 2.4 per cent. Oil giant ExxonMobil rose 2.0 per cent and oil-services titan Schlumberger advanced 1.5 per cent as crude prices rose.

Online travel company Expedia jumped 14.5 per cent on news it will buy rival Orbitz Worldwide for about US$1.6 billion in a move that further consolidates the sector. Orbitz bolted 21.8 per cent higher.

TripAdvisor, another online travel site, jumped 22.5 per cent after reporting an 80 per cent rise in fourth-quarter net income to US$36 million.

Priceline, another online travel site, gained 3.0 per cent.

Dow component American Express sank 6.4 per cent on news its venture to provide exclusive credit cards at Costco Wholesale stores would end in March 2016. American Express sought to extend the venture, but said it was "unable to reach terms that would have made economic sense for our Company and shareholders." Costco rose 0.2 per cent.

Electric-car maker Tesla Motors fell 4.6 per cent as it reported a fourth-quarter loss of US$107.6 million, compared with a loss of US$16.3 million a year ago. The results were dragged down by delays in auto deliveries.

Cybersecurity firm FireEye jumped 11.0 per cent as it projected 2015 sales of US$600-$625 million, compared with US$425.7 million in 2014.

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 1.99 per cent from 2.00 per cent Wednesday, while the 30-year held steady at 2.57 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.



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