US stocks rally on apparent Trump shifts on Syria, trade

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks rose on Thursday (April 12) as US President Donald Trump signalled a more cautious approach to potential Syria missile strikes and a more welcoming approach to international trade talks.

Analysts also cited optimism over the upcoming earnings period, which begins in earnest Friday with reports from JPMorgan Chase and other large banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 1.2 per cent at 24,483.05.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.8 per cent to 2,663.99, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1 per cent to 7,140.25.

US stocks had fallen on Wednesday following Trump's tweet that suggested military strikes on Syria could be imminent.

But investors welcomed Trump's subsequent statement on the matter before Thursday's trading session.

"Never said when an attack on Syria would take place," Trump tweeted early Thursday. "Could be very soon or not so soon at all!"

Trump "appeared to soften his stance on Syria" and also signalled greater openness to working with allies on the matter, said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Annuities.

Krosby said investors were also heartened by Trump's apparent shift on talks for the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Republican lawmakers said the US president directed White House aides to review reentering the talks after Trump exited the negotiations in one of his first moves in office in January 2017.

JPMorgan gained 2.5 per cent, Citigroup won 3.3 per cent and Wells Fargo advanced 1.4 per cent. All three companies will report results on Friday.

Behemoth money manager BlackRock jumped 1.5 per cent after posting quarterly profits that were up nearly 30 per cent year on year, handily beating analyst expectations.

Delta Air Lines rose 3 per cent after posting falling revenues but better-than-expected earnings per share.

Tesla Motors dropped 2.3 per cent following news it will no longer participate in a US probe of a fatal crash after disagreeing with officials over public disclosures about the investigation.

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