US stocks boosted by solid Wal-Mart, Cisco earnings

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rose early Thursday (Nov 16), bouncing from recent weakness along with global equities following solid earnings from Wal-Mart Stores and Cisco Systems.

The gains followed two days of declines prompted by weakness in petroleum-linked shares and doubts about the prospects of President Donald Trump's tax cut plan in Washington.

Analysts said sentiment was lifted by expectations that the House of Representatives would approve a tax cut plan later in the day, although the proposal still faces obstacles in Washington.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 23,399.42, up 0.6 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.5 per cent to 2,576.58, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.7 per cent to 6,755.99. analyst Patrick O'Hare cautioned that investor conviction remains weak.

"The typical pattern of late has featured weak opens that then give way to a steady buy-the-dip bid that makes things look better by the close," O'Hare said.

"In that vein, then, we wouldn't put it past this fickle market to see a solid open today give way to selling on the strength that makes things look worse by the end of the day."

Wal-Mart surged 6.6 per cent after boosting its full-year profit forecast as US comparable stores rose 2.7 per cent, propelled in part by higher sales in hurricane-affected regions.

Cisco, another Dow component, rose 2.2 per cent after reporting that quarterly earnings rose 3.1 per cent to US$2.4 billion, besting analyst expectations.