Wall St up despite Middle East tensions

US stocks have ended higher, rebounding from Friday's losses as investors brushed aside worries about increased tensions in the Middle East and shares of Alphabet and other internet names gained.

The S&P 500 energy index rose along with oil prices after the US air strike that killed Iran's top military commander on Friday, raising the threat of a new conflagration in the Middle East.

Stocks investors remained jittery at the start of Monday trade but the market gained strength heading into the close. Friday's losses came a day after major indexes notched record highs on the new year's first trading day.

"The geopolitical spark knocked it down from its highs but in the absence of any additional escalation there, the market will end up shrugging its shoulders and I think that's what you saw today," said Michael Antonelli at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

"The start of a fresh year and the deployment of fresh capital into the market" helped, he added.

Top internet companies led the S&P 500 higher. Alphabet Inc rose 2.7 per cent after Pivotal Research upgraded the stock to "buy".

But chipmakers were among the day's biggest decliners, after ranking as star performers in 2019. The Philadelphia semiconductor index, which surged about 60 per cent last year, was down 1.0 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68.5 points, or 0.24 per cent, to 28,703.38, the S&P 500 gained 11.43 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 3,246.28, and the Nasdaq Composite added 50.70 points, or 0.56 per cent, to 9,071.47.

Boeing Co ended up 0.3 per cent, reversing slight losses earlier.

The Wall Street Journal reported the planemaker was considering plans to raise more debt to bolster its finances after the grounding of its 737 MAX jet.

The S&P 500 communication services index was the top gainer among the major sectors, rising 1.2 per cent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.16-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.17-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 23 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 73 new highs and 26 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 7.77 billion shares, compared to the 6.93 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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