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US: Stocks bounce, shrugging off economic doubts

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks shrugged off doubts about the US economy and powered higher Thursday, with Apple soaring ahead of an expected product launch next week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 per cent to 25,962.51.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 1.1 per cent to 2,854.88, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.4 per cent to 7,838.96.

The gains came a day after the Federal Reserve surprised markets with a dovish policy decision that analysts said raised doubts about the US economic outlook.

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But Thursday's performance showed investors believe "the Fed will do what it can to please the markets," said Meeschaert Financial Service's Gregori Volokhine, adding that money managers fear losing out on more gains later in the year.

Apple surged 3.6 per cent on positive buzz ahead of a March 25 event expected to unveil a new streaming service. Apple was upgraded by Needham and its price target was lifted by Citigroup.

Chip companies also had a strong day, with Advanced Micro Devices winning 8.5 per cent, Western Digital 9.8 per cent and Micron Technology 9.6 per cent following results from Micron.

Levi Strauss, returning to the public markets for the first time in nearly 35 years, soared 31.9 per cent from its initial public offering price.

But biotech company Biogen plunged 29.2 per cent after it halted clinical trials for a medication once thought to offer promise for treating Alzheimer's disease.

AFP