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Wall Street jumps on earnings optimism, Syria worries ebb; Dow up 1.1%

The gains came as first-quarter earnings season kicked off, with the world's largest asset manager BlackRock Inc reporting quarterly profit above Wall Street estimates


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A souvenir license plate is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan, New York | Photo: Reuters

stocks bounced higher on Thursday as expectations that lower US taxes would fuel corporate earnings added to easing of nerves over US military conflict with Russia in Syria.

Growth stocks including technology, financial and industrial stocks led gains on the main US indexes.

Boeing rose 1.53 percent and was the biggest boost to the Dow, while Microsoft and JPMorgan rose 1.5 per cent each, lifting the S&P 500.

The gains came as first-quarter earnings season kicked off, with the world's largest asset manager BlackRock Inc reporting quarterly profit above estimates. Its shares were up 2.6 per cent.

Analysts expect quarterly profit for S&P 500 companies to rise 18.5 per cent from a year ago, the biggest gain in seven years, according to Thomson Reuters.

"We're seeing some early optimism ahead of earnings and there's no bad news for the moment, be it back and forth between Russia and the US or trade war situation," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville.

"This is first full quarter with new taxes... that is a variable that could work very positively in the favour of investors."

At 9:45 am ET, the Industrial Average was up 1.18 per cent at 24,474.26. The S&P 500 gained 0.87 per cent to 2,665.14 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.91 per cent to 7,133.66.

US President toned down his threats of a swift military strike on Syria, tweeting "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

His comments came a day after he tweeted that missiles "will be coming", threatening a military confrontation with Russia in Syria.

Economic data on Thursday also helped the positive sentiment. New applications for US unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to sustained labour market strength.

The data pushed yields on the US 10-year Treasury notes to a four-day high at 2.82 per cent.

Delta Air Lines jumped more than 2 per cent after the US carrier reported a rise in quarterly revenue, boosted by higher average fares and passenger traffic.

Other airline stocks American Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Alaska Air Group and United Continental Holdings rose between 0.9 per cent and 2 per cent, lifting the Airlines index by 1.5 per cent.

Facebook shares fell 1 per cent, after a brief respite for the stock in the wake of Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's comments at the two-day congressional hearing.

Bed Bath & Beyond shares dived more than 17 per cent after the company's full-year profit forecast missed estimates.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE for a 1.77-to-1 ratio and on the Nasdaq for a 2.25-to-1 ratio.



First Published: Thu, April 12 2018. 20:44 IST