US stocks rise but Syria concerns weigh on market

US stocks kicked off a holiday-shortened week higher Tuesday, but concerns about a possible US military strike on Syria cut into early gains.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 23.65 (0.16 percent) at 14,833.96.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 6.80 (0.42 percent) to 1,639.77, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 22.74 (0.63 percent) to 3,612.61.

US stocks had opened solidly higher after markets were closed Monday for a holiday, but stocks cooled considerably after Republican House Speaker John Boehner at mid-session backed President Barack Obama’s call for military action against Syria.

“The market fears that (a Syria military strike) will take the focus off what needs to happen here domestically,” such as the debate on tapering the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program and picking a new Fed chairman, said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

The moderate gains came amid some solid economic data from Europe, China and the US. Fresh data Tuesday showed an unexpected jump in US manufacturing activity in August.

Tech giant Apple rose 0.3 percent after announcing a September 10 event that is expected to launch two new versions of the iPhone.

Dow component Verizon fell 2.9 percent one day after announcing a $130 billion deal to buy out Vodafone’s 45-percent stake in Verizon Wireless. Vodafone dropped 1.1 percent.

Microsoft, another Dow component, dropped 4.6 percent after announcing a $7.2 billion deal to acquire Nokia’s mobile phone unit. US-traded shares of Nokia soared 31.3 percent.

CBS jumped 4.7 percent after resolving a contract dispute with Time Warner that had led to a programming blackout in New York City and some other markets. Time Warner rose 1.4 percent.

Bank of America rose 0.9 percent after announcing the sale of its remaining equity investment in China Construction Bank. The sale will net a pretax gain of $750 million, Bank of America said.

Other large banks also advanced, including Citigroup (up 2.2 percent) and JPMorgan Chase (up 1.2 percent).

Technology shares were strong, led by Amazon (up 2.8 percent), Google (up 1.6 percent) and Yahoo (up 2.4 percent).

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped to 2.85 percent from 2.75 percent Friday, while the 30-year rose 3.78 percent from 3.68 percent. Prices and yields move inversely.

Source: AFP

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