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US: Stocks rally ahead of G-20 talks

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rallied on Monday, shaking off recent weakness ahead of a meeting between the presidents of the United States and China that investors hope will produce a breakthrough.

Analysts said heavy selling from last week set the stage for Monday's gains, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average finishing up 1.5 per cent at 24,640.24.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 1.6 per cent to 2,673.45, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 2.1 per cent to 7,081.85.

"The main driver is that we were oversold for a short period of time," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR. "We are catching up."

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Hogan said investors were hoping that talks between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping during this week's Group of 20 meeting in Argentina could lead to a deal.

Investors are also eyeing public remarks from top Federal Reserve officials, as well as central bank meeting minutes due to be released later this week, and hope for signals of greater caution about hiking interest rates in 2019.

Stocks were hammered last week due to worries about trade wars and higher interest rates.

Shares of retailers were broadly higher after Adobe Analytics said early data suggested "Cyber Monday" would yield a total of US$7.8 billion, up 18.3 per cent from last year and in line to become the biggest e-commerce day in US history.

Amazon surged 5.3 per cent, while traditional retailers such as Target, Best Buy and Macy's all gained.

Microsoft jumped 3.3 per cent and briefly became the world's biggest company by market capitalization. But Apple quickly regained the top spot and finished up 1.4 per cent.

General Motors surged 4.8 per cent after unveiling plans to shutter seven plants worldwide and cut thousands of jobs in a push to save US$6 billion. The plan drew scorn from top US officials including Trump and Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, who lambasted GM for "corporate greed at its worst."

AFP