NEW YORK, April 16 — Wall Street stocks rose early today on better-than-expected US retail sales and relief that conflict over Syria has not escalated.
Retail spending in the US gained 0.6 per cent in March, rising to US$494.6 billion, overshooting economists’ expectations and marking the biggest gain since November.
Analysts also said investors were reassured after weekend strikes by Britain, France and the US on Syria did not spur major retaliation from Syria’s allies Iran and Russia.
About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.7 per cent to 24,524.36.
The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.5 per cent to 2,669.37, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 per cent to 7,138.07.
Money managers remain optimistic about first-quarter earnings, which are expected to show a 17.3 per cent jump for S&P 500 companies compared with the year-ago period.
In spite of those rosy forecasts, a key question is whether the market will push higher following earnings, or whether good results are already baked into valuations. On Friday, major banks fell sharply despite reporting good profits.
Bank of America edged up 0.2 per cent after reporting Monday its 34.2 per cent jump in first-quarter profits to US$6.5 billion behind a strong performance in key businesses thanks in part to a lift from higher interest rates.
Dow member Merck shot up 3.3 per cent after reporting successful clinical results for its Keytruda treatment for lung cancer. — AFP