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US: Stocks boosted by Facebook, tech shares

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks jumped on Thursday after blowout earnings from Facebook ignited a rally in shares of large technology companies.

Among major indices, the Nasdaq Composite Index was the leader, piling on 1.6 percent to 7,118.68.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.0 per cent to 24,322.34, while the broad-based S&P 500 also gained 1.0 per cent to 2,666.94.

Stocks have been under pressure much of the week after the yield on the 10-year US Treasury bonds hit 3.0 per cent earlier this week, sharpening fears about higher interest rates. Yields pulled back a bit on Thursday.

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Investors cheered Facebook after the social media giant reported a 63 per cent rise in first-quarter profits to US$5 billion, undented by a consumer data scandal, lifting shares by 9.1 per cent.

"Facebook's impressive earnings and revenue results have helped to put investors in a good mood," said Gorilla Trades strategist Ken Berman.

Besides Facebook, Amazon, Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft all won about 2.0 per cent or more.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, another company that has struggled in recent quarters, surged 24.6 per cent after reporting at 28.9 per cent rise in first-quarter earnings to US$59.5 million. Investors applauded new chief executive Brian Niccol and signs the restaurant chain is moving past a series of food safety problems.

Dow member Visa jumped 4.9 per cent after it raised it profit and revenue forecast for 2018 following a stronger-than-expected first quarter.

But American Airlines sank 6.4 per cent as it reported a 45.2 per cent drop in first-quarter earnings to US$186 million and highlighted higher fuel costs as a worry.

Another big US carrier, Southwest Airlines, fell 1.0 per cent as it warned of a slowdown in bookings following a problem flight last week that resulted in an emergency landing and fatality.

AFP