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US: Banks, oil companies lift stocks

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished higher on Monday, with gains from petroleum companies and banks more than offsetting another drop in Boeing shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.3 per cent to close the session at 25,914.10.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.4 per cent to end at 2,832.94, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.3 per cent to 7,714.48.

After a bruising conclusion to 2018, US stocks have spent much of the first quarter pushing higher amid expectations for a US-China trade deal and dovish commentary from the Fed.

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The Fed will have another opportunity to weigh in on Wednesday following a meeting that is expected to keep interest rates unchanged and could signal fewer rate increases in 2019.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended last week at five-month highs and added further to gains on Monday.

Oil-linked shares prospered with higher crude prices. Halliburton jumped 3.2 per cent, Exxon Mobil 1.2 per cent and Apache 1.6 per cent.

Large banks were also strong, with Goldman Sachs and Bank of America each winning around two percent.

Marriott rose 2.2 per cent after releasing a plan to add between 275,000 and 295,000 new hotel rooms by 2021, an expansion that could lift annual revenues by US$700 million.

But Boeing dropped another 1.8 per cent as scrutiny builds over its 737 Max aircraft that was grounded globally last week following a second deadly crash in less than five months.

The Wall Street Journal reported that a grand jury in Washington issued a subpoena to at least one person involved in the plane's certification.

Facebook also was under pressure, losing 3.3 per cent following a downgrade by Needham.

AFP