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Tech stocks lead US equities higher

Tech stocks led US markets higher on Monday, helped by the truce in the smartphone patents battle between Apple and Google.

NEW YORK: Tech stocks led US markets higher on Monday helped by the truce in the smartphone patents battle between Apple and Google.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index notched the day's strongest gains, advancing 35.23 points (0.86 per cent) to 4,125.82.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 20.55 points (0.12 per cent) to 16,511.86, while the broad-based S&P 500 rose 7.22 points (0.38 per cent) to 1,885.08.

Monday's trade was the first since Apple and Google said on late Friday evening they were dismissing law suits against each other and would work together on patent reform.

Apple rose 1.2 per cent, while Google jumped 1.6 per cent. Other Nasdaq stocks with big gains included Netflix (+4.2 per cent), Priceline (+1.9 per cent) and Zillow (+3.5 per cent).

"Clearly Nasdaq is leading the charge today," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

The agreement between Apple and Google has "spilled out over the other tech stocks," he said.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, said stocks were "oversold" last week.

US telecommunications giant AT&T Sunday announced a deal to acquire broadcast satellite service provider DirecTV for nearly $50 billion, the latest in a string of pay TV consolidation moves.

AT&T shares fell 1.0 per cent, while DirecTV declined 1.8 per cent.

British pharma company AstraZeneca again rejected a sweetened takeover offer from US giant Pfizer, which called its $117 weekend billion bid its "final" offer for AstraZeneca.

Dow member Pfizer rose 0.6 per cent, while US shares of AstraZeneca tumbled 12.0 per cent.

Biotech company InterMune powered 13.4 per cent higher on positive test results for pirfenidone, a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease.

Time Warner rose 1.8 per cent after its Warner Brothers division scored strong box-office grosses for a remake of "Godzilla," which grossed $93.2 million in ticket sales over the weekend, compared to $26 million for second-place "Neighbours."

Campbell Soup lowered its profit forecast following disappointing sales in a "challenging consumer environment." Shares fell 2.4 per cent.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.54 per cent from 2.52 per cent on Friday, while the 30-year increased to 3.38 per cent from 3.35 per cent.

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