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US: Stocks extend rally at start of second quarter

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks posted strong gains on Monday, advancing in the first session of the second quarter on solid economic data and optimism over trade talks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 1.3 per cent to 26,258.42.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.2 per cent to 2,867.19, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index won 1.3 per cent to 7,828.91.

Gains were broad-based, with industrials such as Caterpillar and United Technologies joining JPMorgan Chase and Disney as among the Dow's biggest winners.

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Large technology companies including Netflix, Amazon and google parent Alphabet also had a good session.

Markets had stumbled towards the end of March on worries about slowing growth or a recession but "it feels like some of that concern is receding," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National.

"The data is starting to stabilise," he said.

The strong start showed continued momentum from the first quarter, which saw the S&P 500 notch its best quarterly performance since 2009.

Analysts pointed to strong Chinese manufacturing data, as well as a surprisingly good report on the US manufacturing sector as catalysts.

US retail sales disappointed in February but the result was tempered somewhat by an upward revision to the January data.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury yield jumped on Monday. Last week's dip in the benchmark had been seen as a sign of medium-term economic weakness.

Cereal company Kellogg fell 2.4 per cent after announcing it would sell its Keebler Cookies and some other brands to Ferrero for US$1.3 billion.

Ride-hailing company Lyft stumbled in its second session after last week's initial public offering, dropping 11.9 per cent to fall below its IPO price.

AFP