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US stocks shake off early weakness to end higher

US stocks shake off early weakness to end higher

The Wall Street sign is framed by American flags flying outside the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

NEW YORK: Wall Street stocks shrugged off early weakness and pushed higher on Monday (Jan 6) as investors weighed whether escalating US-Iran tensions would significantly affect the economy.

Stocks opened the session lower, extending Friday's skittishness following the US killing of Qasem Soleimani.

But equities picked up support later in the day as investors seemed to remember that market pullbacks induced by unexpected geopolitical events are frequently short-lived.

"Almost certainly there is going to be more tensions, Iran will retaliate," said LBBW Karl Haeling. "But the bottom line is that markets are voting that this is not going to be a disruption to the economy and corporate profits."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 28,703.38, a gain of 68.50 points (0.24 per cent).

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 11.43 points (0.35 per cent) to close at 3,246.28, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 50.70 points (0.56 per cent) to 9,071.47.

The Soleimani killing and the ensuing back-and-forth between Washington and Tehran has challenged sentiment on Wall Street compared with late 2019, when markets repeatedly hit new records amid easing worries over US-China trade talks.

Several large technology companies enjoyed banner days, including Google-parent Alphabet and Salesforce, which jumped 2.5 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively, following analyst upgrades.

Other gainers were Netflix, up 3.1 per cent, and Amazon, up 1.5 per cent.

SmileDirectClub, which sells teeth straightening medical devices, surged 21.6 per cent as it sealed a deal to sell a suite of products exclusively at Walmart. Walmart slipped 0.2 per cent.

Key economic indicators this week include a report on the services sector and the December US jobs report.

Source: AFP/de

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