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Tech leads US stocks to higher close after volatile session


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished higher on Monday after a topsy-turvy session that saw shares fall on worries about Brexit and trade wars before a resurgence in technology lifted markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at 24,423.26, up 0.1 per cent, after recovering from a slide of more than two per cent earlier in the session.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.2 per cent to end at 2,637.72, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.7 per cent to 7,020.52.

"There is just a lot of uncertainty with regards to a lot of issues right now," said William Lynch of Hinsdale Associates.

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Key headwinds for US stocks include the ongoing trade war between Washington and Beijing and worries that US growth could slow considerably in 2019 and potentially tip into a recession.

Analysts also are taking stock of turbulence in Europe, as British Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a vote on her Brexit plan and embattled French President Emmanuel Macron announced a hike in the minimum wage and other steps to try to diffuse widespread protests throughout the country.

"There are reasons to be concerned," Mr Lynch said.

"I think a lot of the fears are overblown and a lot of investors are overreacting," said Mr Lynch, who noted that US economic indicators are still solid, and said he is hopeful that stocks will end the year strongly.

Technology stocks were generally strong, with Facebook rising 3.2 per cent after boosting its share buyback plan by $9 billion.

Amazon rose 0.7 per cent, Microsoft 2.6 per cent and Netflix 1.7 per cent.

Apple initially fell after a Chinese court ruled against the company in a patent dispute with chip company Qualcomm. But Apple shares gained 0.7 per cent after the company said iPhones remained available in China. Qualcomm rose 2.2 per cent.

FedEx dropped 4.2 per cent after announcing that David Cunningham, head of Fedex Express, was stepping down at the end of the year. A departure that some analysts said raised worries about the company's profit outlook.