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US: Stocks end higher after calm session, Dow +1.7%


[NEW YORK] US stocks finished solidly higher Monday following an upbeat session free of the jolts of volatility that plagued equities for more than a week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.7 per cent to close at 24,601.27.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.4 per cent to end the day at 2,656.00, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.6 per cent to 6,981.96.

US stocks have been under pressure since a strong jobs report February 2 sparked fears the Federal Reserve will accelerate the pace of interest rate hikes to stave off inflation.

Those worries have been amplified by increasing Treasury bond yields. Higher interest rates could threaten US economic growth and prod some investors to shift funds away from stocks and into bonds.

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But after a pullback briefly sent the Dow and S&P 500 into correction territory last week, retreating more than 10 per cent from their peak levels, investors Monday appeared to be trying to turn the page. US stocks were in positive territory the entire session.

"The market is returning to more fundamental considerations," said William Lynch, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates. "Business results are good."

Still, analysts will be watching this week's data to see if Monday's calm is a prelude to a more lasting period of stability or just a temporary reprieve. Key reports this week include data on consumer price inflation and retail sales.

Dow companies with big gains included Apple, with a 4.0 per cent gain, Boeing, up 3.3 per cent and Dow DuPont, up 3.4 per cent.

Petroleum-linked shares rose amid higher oil prices, with Halliburton winning 2.6 per cent, Schlumberger 2.5 per cent and Apache 2.4 per cent.

Information technology company CSRA shot up 31.1 per cent after agreeing to be acquired by weapons maker General Dynamics for US$9.6 billion. General Dynamics dropped 1.1 per cent.


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