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US: Tech, insurers lead Wall Street rally as Irma, N Korea fears ease

[NEW YORK] Wall Street was sharply higher on Monday morning in a broad rally led by technology and financial stocks, especially insurers, on relief that Irma weakened to a tropical storm and North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test as feared.

Irma pounded heavily populated areas of central Florida over the weekend, but gradually lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm in the morning.

At 9:37 am ET (1337 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 172.84 points, or 0.79 per cent, at 21,970.63 and the S&P 500 was up 17.64 points, or 0.72 per cent, at 2,479.07.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 63.32 points, or 1 per cent, at 6,423.51.

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Also boosting risk appetite was North Korea holding a massive celebration on it founding day on Saturday, instead of another long-range missile launch as the United States and its allies were bracing for.

With the tensions easing, world stocks climbed to a record high, while the dollar edged higher and gold retreated from Friday's 13-month high. "For now, we're seeing a bit of a relief rally. It does appear that the worst-case scenario for Florida has been evaded," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.