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US: Stocks gain for 3rd day as trade fears recede


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rose for the third straight session on Thursday amid reassurances a trade war may be averted and optimism ahead of the approaching earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up one per cent at 24,505.22.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.7 per cent to 2,662.84, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.5 per cent to 7,076.55.

Investors are rethinking the odds escalating tariff threats from President Donald Trump and top Chinese officials will result in concrete action, analysts said.

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Worries about a trade war have been a major drag on US stocks over the last month.

Threats are "what seems to be (Trump's) normal negotiating strategy," said Maris Ogg of Tower Bridge Advisors.

"It seems to be really unlikely that all this negative trade talk is going to really amount to much."

Ms Ogg also pointed to hopes the upcoming first-quarter earnings period will be strong. Companies in the S&P 500 are expected to average earnings growth of 17.3 per cent, according to FactSet.

Key gainers included Facebook, which rose 2.7 per cent as investors greeted reassurances from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg that the social network's business remains solid despite a user data scandal.

Other large technology companies that have seen recent weakness also rose, including Amazon, which climbed 2.9 per cent and Tesla Motors, which surged 6.5 per cent.

Dow companies that advanced over two per cent included Boeing, Caterpillar, Chevron and DowDuPont.

Thursday's gains come ahead of Friday's closely-watched US jobs report.

Analysts expect the US added 175,000 jobs in March and that unemployment dipped to 4 per cent from 4.1 per cent.