US stocks gain on hopes for Ukraine talks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.3 per cent to 34,955.89. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rose Monday (March 28) on hopes over peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, while oil prices tumbled with worries over the hit of Covid-19 to Chinese energy demand.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv's negotiators were studying a Russian demand for Ukrainian neutrality. The comments came ahead of new face-to-face talks between Ukraine and Russia, set to start Tuesday in Turkey.

Meanwhile, oil prices pulled back as the eastern half of Shanghai went into lockdown following the latest Covid-19 outbreak, reviving worries about petroleum demand.

In Washington, President Joe Biden released an annual US$5.8 trillion (S$7.89 trillion) budget plan that would steer US$6.9 billion towards Ukraine to assist in defending against Russia's invasion, as well as to aid Nato.

However, analysts shrugged off a plan for a minimum tax on the income of ultra-wealthy taxpayers, viewing the measure as unlikely to advance in the politically divided Congress.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.3 per cent to 34,955.89.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.7 per cent to 4,575.52, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.3 per cent to 14,354.90.

Petroleum-linked companies fell with oil prices, with shares of both ConocoPhillips and Halliburton dropping more than three percent.

Among individual companies, Tesla jumped 9.0 per cent as the electric car maker announced plans for a stock split.

This week's economic calendar includes the March government jobs report and an update on consumer confidence.

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