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Strong US data lifts stocks but oil shares fall

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rebounded modestly Tuesday as strong US economic data compensated for a drop in oil prices that hit petroleum-linked equities.

US data showed stronger-than-expected third quarter growth, higher housing prices in September and a sharp rebound in consumer confidence in November.

But energy companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron pulled back as US oil prices slumped nearly four per cent ahead of a closely-watched meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1 per cent to 19,121.60.

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The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.1 per cent to 2,204.66, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.2 per cent to 5,379.92.

Banking shares, which have been strong in expectation of higher interest rates and more favourable policies out of Washington, continued to rise. JPMorgan Chase climbed 0.8 per cent and Goldman Sachs one per cent.

Pharmaceutical stocks were also upward bound, with Pfizer adding 1.2 per cent, Merck 0.7 per cent and Celgene 1.5 per cent.

Tiffany jumped 3.1 per cent after the jewellery company reported a 4.5 per cent increase in third quarter net income to US$95.1 million.

Dow member UnitedHealth Group advanced 3.6 per cent after projecting 2017 adjusted earnings would come in at US$9.30 to US$9.60 a share, up from the 2016 level, which is expected to be US$8.00 a share.