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US stocks soar as Ukraine tensions ease

Published on Mar 5, 2014 6:34 AM
 
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on the morning of March 3, 2014 in New York City. US stocks soared on Tuesday and investors pushed the S&P 500 to its second record close in three days on signs of easing tensions over Ukraine. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks soared on Tuesday and investors pushed the S&P 500 to its second record close in three days on signs of easing tensions over Ukraine.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 227.85 points (1.41 per cent), finishing at 16,395.88.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 28.18 (1.53 per cent) to 1,873.91, exceeding by far Friday's record of 1,859.45.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index blasted its way to 4,351.97, up 74.67 (1.75 per cent).

The strong rebound wiped out Monday's sharp losses that came amid worries about a standoff between Russia and the West over Moscow's intentions in Ukraine.

On Tuesday Russia pulled back troops from the border with Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin played down the option of sending troops into the ex-Soviet state.

"Clearly there is a sense of relief in the market that the situation doesn't seem to be worsening," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist of BTIG.

All 30 Dow members ended in the green. Financials were big gainers.

American Express led the Dow higher, up 2.9 per cent, Goldman Sachs added 2.4 per cent and Visa was up 1.8 per cent.

Pfizer added 2.2 per cent and The Walt Disney Company jumped 2.8 per cent.

Struggling consumer electronics retailer RadioShack's announcement of a tripling of losses in the fourth quarter and that it would close 1,100 stores, about 20 per cent of the current slate, hit shares hard, sending the stock down 17.3 per cent.

Chipmaker Qualcomm unveiled a 20 per cent increase in its dividend and a new authorization for US$5 billion (S$6.34 billion) in stock repurchases. Shares jumped 3.4 per cent.

Solar company SunEdison shot up 11.8 per cent after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight," reasoning that the company would be able to cash in on investments more quickly than previously thought.

Bond prices fell back after Monday's gains. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury leaped to 2.70 per cent from 2.61 per cent on Monday, while the 30-year increased to 3.65 per cent from 3.56 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.