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Wall Street extends gains following Putin's speech

English.news.cn   2014-03-19 07:10:42

NEW YORK, March 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks rallied Tuesday, rising for a second consecutive day, after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow did not seek to split Ukraine, which relieved market concerns to a certain extent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 88.97 points, or 0.55 percent, to 16,336.19. The S&P 500 jumped 13.42 points, or 0.72 percent, to 1,872.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 53.36 points, or 1.25 percent, to 4,333.31.

The U.S. market continued to exhibit its impressive resilience, as investors were reluctant to further short stocks amid tensions in Crimea, believing that improving fundamentals in the world's largest economy is likely to trump the geopolitical headwind.

Investors' sentiments were eased to some extent Tuesday after Putin told the Parliament that Russia has no intention to take control of other areas of Ukraine and did not seek confrontation with its partners in the East and the West, signs that the standoff might not further escalate.

Also on Tuesday, Putin signed an agreement accepting the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol as part of its territory a day after the Crimean parliament declared secession from Ukraine. Official results from Sunday's referendum showed 96. 6 percent of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Meanwhile, investors are turning their focus from the Crimea crisis to the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting starting Tuesday, the first with Janet Yellen as chair.

Whether the Fed might make a transition from a threshold-based forward guidance to a more qualitative one at the meeting will be of particular interest to investors.

On the economic front, the U.S. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers nudged up 0.1 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, mainly due to rising food prices, said the Labor Department Tuesday. Despite the increase, inflation in the United States remained subdued.

U.S. privately-owned housing starts fell slightly by 0.2 percent in February, whereas building permits jumped 7.7 percent, said the Commerce Department, a sign that construction work is expected to ramp up as weather turns warm.

Shortly after the closing bell, Oracle Corporation released its earnings and revenues in the third fiscal quarter, both trailing market consensus. In response, the tech giant's shares lost ground in after-hours trading.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, tumbled 7.16 percent to end at 14.52 Tuesday.

In other markets, oil prices rose Tuesday as uncertainties over Ukraine still lingered. Light, sweet crude for April delivery moved up 1.62 U.S. dollars to settle at 99.7 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery gained 55 cents to close at 106.79 dollars a barrel.

Gold futures went down for the second consecutive session Tuesday, with the most active gold contract for April delivery down 13.9 dollars, or 1.01 percent, to settle at 1,359 dollars per ounce.

The U.S. dollar was mixed against other currencies Tuesday ahead of policy decision of the Fed's closely-watched meeting.

In late New York trading, the euro moved up to 1.3929 dollars from 1.3920 dollars in the previous session. The dollar bought 101. 53 Japanese yen, lower than 101.72 yen of the previous session.

Editor: Shen Qing
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