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Overnight Markets: Wall Street gains as Syria fears ease

Overnight Markets: Wall Street gains as Syria fears ease

US stocks gained on Monday amid hopes that the strike against Syria would not escalate, and as investors digested a fresh batch of earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 213 points, or 0.87%, to 24,573, the S&P 500 gained 22 points, or 0.81%, to 2,678 and the Nasdaq Composite added 50 points, or 0.7%, to 7,156.

Saturday’s strikes were the biggest intervention by Western countries against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose ally Russia is facing further US economic sanctions over its role in the conflict. Investors hoped that the strike against Syria would not escalate further.

Yesterday’s advance also came as investors appeared to take an optimistic view on first-quarter earnings season. Bank of America on Monday reported better than expected quarterly results, citing lower taxes and higher interest rates. Share rose 0.5%.

Telecoms led the gain rising 1.5%, followed closely by utilities and materials both up about 1.4%. Meanwhile, real estate snagged the smallest gains, up 0.5%.

Dow member Merck shot up 2.6% after reporting successful clinical results for its Keytruda treatment for lung cancer.

Pharmacy stocks Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS Health won 3.8% and 4.2% respectively following a report that Amazon was abandoning a plan to sell drugs to hospitals.

Starbucks rose 0.3% following an apology to two black men who were arrested in a cafe in a move widely seen as evidence of racial bias.

In another development, President Donald Trump said on Monday that he will nominate economist Richard Clarida as Federal Reserve Vice Chairman, adding another hawkish voice at the central bank.

The dollar fell 0.41% against a basket of major currencies, while the euro added 0.4% to $1.2378.

In commodities news, oil prices fell on waning investor concern about Syria. US crude fell 1.62% to $66.30 per barrel and Brent was last at $71.49, down 1.5% on the day.

In Asia, shares traded flat on Tuesday in morning session as investors awaited the release of China data due later in the session.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was little changed and last edging lower by 0.06%. Over in Seoul, the Kospi shed 0.06% despite automakers climbing in early trade.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 drifted higher by 0.21%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.06% while mainland markets edged higher. The Shanghai composite edged up by 0.11%.

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