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US: Stocks surge as tech, banking sectors lead


[NEW YORK] The Dow jumped more than 1.3 per cent on Wednesday as a broad-based rally led by technology and banking shares snapped a week of anemic trade in US equity markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 236.36 points (1.33 per cent) to 18,000.40.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 25.05 (1.20 per cent) to 2,105.20, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 62.82 (1.25 per cent) to 5,076.69.

Stocks were helped by midday news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande would meet with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the sidelines of an EU-Latin America summit, encouraging hopes for a deal extending Greece's bailout funding.

But analysts attributed the strong gains primarily to a rally after four straight days of either negative or flat trade.

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"You're seeing buyers step in and take advantage of a market that has been under pressure during the last trading days," said David Levy, portfolio manager at Kenjol Capital Management.

"It's a relief rally on oversold conditions." Large technology stocks were especially strong, with Dow member Microsoft gaining 2.1 per cent and Facebook and Google both rising 1.9 per cent. Apple rose 1.2 per cent.

Banking shares also thrived. Dow members JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs jumped 1.6 per cent and 2.0 per cent, while Bank of America added 1.6 per cent.

Petroleum-linked shares rose in tandem with oil prices. Anadarko gained 1.7 per cent, ConocoPhillips added 1.5 per cent and Halliburton surged 2.1 per cent.

Netflix bolted 3.7 per cent higher after shareholders approved a measure to increase the company's share count, a step that is expected to lead to a stock split.

Johnson Controls, which specializes in energy efficiency products for buildings and autos, surged 3.9 per cent after announcing a strategic review of its auto business that could result in a sale of the division. Johnson said it enlisted Goldman Sachs and Centerview Partners to serve as financial advisors.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals fell 2.6 per cent after an FDA advisory committee approved its Praluent treatment for lowering cholesterol.

However, the approval was "not as clean and positive as expectations" as committee members "seemed hung up" on the lack of outcomes data and the safety of the medicine, said a note from RBC Capital Markets.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.49 per cent from 2.43 per cent Tuesday ,while the 30-year advanced to 3.21 percent from 3.16 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.


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