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US: Netflix, China stimulus hopes help boost Wall Street

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US stocks forged higher on Tuesday as investors fostered hope of Chinese tax cuts and Netflix raised subscription rates, lifting the tech sector.

[NEW YORK] US stocks forged higher on Tuesday as investors fostered hope of Chinese tax cuts and Netflix raised subscription rates, lifting the tech sector.

Equities dipped briefly in mid-afternoon trading after the British parliament massively rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan, but stocks soon resumed their upward course.

The benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average closed with a gain of 0.7 per cent at 24,065.59 while the S&P 500 added 1.1 per cent to settle at 2,610.30.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.7 per cent to 7,023.83, finishing above the 7,000 mark for the first time since mid-December.

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In Beijing, Chinese officials said they expected more "large-scale reductions" in taxes and fees this year, delighting investors - who have shuddered as economic data increasingly shows the world's second-largest economy has begun a sharp slowdown.

Healthcare giant UnitedHealth helped lead the Dow higher, rising 3.6 per cent after better-than-expected quarterly results.

Meanwhile, streaming giant Netflix soared 6.6 per cent after announcing price hikes, including raising the cost of its most popular monthly plan to US$13 from US$11.

The good mood helped lift the tech sector generally. Google-parent Alphabet and Microsoft each rose about three per cent. Apple rose two per cent.

Tom Cahill of Venture Wealth Management told AFP investors would warmly greet any economic stimulus in China.

But he said stocks were entering a "resistance zone" and would find it hard to rise much higher.

"Companies are having a hard time with earnings and expectations."

JP Morgan rose 0.7 per cent despite reporting earnings that fell short of expectations, unlike Wells Fargo, which dropped 1.6 per cent after announcing a 1.4 per cent decline in quarterly earnings on lower revenues.

AFP