Home Market Wall Street jumps on earnings optimism, Syria worries ebb

Wall Street jumps on earnings optimism, Syria worries ebb


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

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

Boeing rose 1.53 percent and was the biggest boost to the Dow, while Microsoft and JPMorgan rose 1.5 percent 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 Wall Street estimates. Its shares were up 2.6 percent.

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

"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 U.S. 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 favor of investors."

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

U.S. President Donald Trump 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 U.S. unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength.

The data pushed yields on the U.S. 10-year Treasury notes to a four-day high at 2.82 percent.

Delta Air Lines jumped more than 2 percent after the U.S. 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 percent and 2 percent, lifting the Dow Jones Airlines index by 1.5 percent.

Facebook shares fell 1 percent, 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 percent 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.

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