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Tech shares lead US stocks higher

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks shook off early weakness and finished solidly higher Monday as the rally in tech sector overshadowed lingering worries over trade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.2 per cent to end the day at 25,502.18.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.4 per cent to close at 2,850.40, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.6 per cent to 7,859.68.

Analysts cited the strong second-quarter earnings season as a supporting factor to stocks, with S&P 500 companies so far reporting 24 per cent higher profits compared with the year-ago period.

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And US companies could authorise as much as US$1 trillion in share buybacks this year following that surge, according to a note from Goldman Sachs.

"Buybacks represent the critical source of demand for shares given most other ownership categories are net sellers of stocks," said the Goldman note.

Tech shares, which experienced weakness earlier in the month, continued to push higher following strong results from Apple and others. The sector is closely watched as a catalyst for the broader stock market.

Apple and Amazon were among the gainers Monday, along with Facebook, which jumped 4.5 per cent on news the company had asked major US banks to share customer data to allow it to develop new services on the social network's Messenger texting platform, a venture that could boost user activity.

PepsiCo advanced 0.9 per cent after announcing chief executive Indra Nooyi would retire and be replaced as by President Ramon Laguarta.

Newell Brands, whose brands include Sharpie and Mr Coffee, slumped 14.4 per cent after second-quarter profits fell 40.9 per cent to US$131.7 million.

AFP