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While you were sleeping Good news on Syria, China

Wednesday 11th September 2013

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Wall Street gained amid optimism that a US-led military strike against Syria might be avoided and as China produced more signs that its economy is gathering steam.

President Barack Obama told ABC News that a US attack "absolutely" would be put on hold if Syrian President Bashar el-Assad would give up the country's chemical weapons.

Even so, "I don't think we would have gotten to this point unless we had maintained a credible possibility for a military strike and I don't think now is the time for us to let up on that," Obama, who is addressing Americans tonight about his plans for Syria, told ABC.

Meanwhile, there was more good news from China, the world's second-largest economy. The nation's industrial output grew 10.4 percent in August from a year earlier, while retail sales increased 13.4 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

In late afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.62 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.49 percent.

"The news from Syria is positive and we had decent economic data out of China," Gary Flam, a portfolio manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles, told Bloomberg News. "Investors came into September cautiously positioned, but one by one their concerns are being removed or lessened."

Shares of General Electric gained, last up 2.2 percent, propelling the advance in the Dow. Shares of Hewlett-Packard dropped, last 0.8 percent weaker, and the biggest loser in the Dow today.

Goldman Sachs, Visa and Nike are set to replace Bank of American, Hewlett-Packard and Alcoa in the Dow, S&P Dow Jones said. The changes will take effect on September 23.

Shares of Nike were last up 1.9 percent, while those of Goldman Sachs were 3.7 percent stronger, and those of Visa were 2.9 percent higher.

Shares of Apple declined, last down 1.9 percent, as the company unveiled its two latest iPhones, including the so-called 5C-model that starts at US$99.

"Apple needs to demonstrate in the coming months that it has other product lines which can start to make up for slowing growth and falling margins in [the] iPhone and iPad," Jan Dawson, a chief telecoms analyst for Ovum Research, told Reuters. "That's a tall order."

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the session with a 1.3 percent increase from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 Index rose 0.8 percent, while France's CAC 40 advanced 1.9 percent, and Germany's DAX jumped 2.1 percent.

BusinessDesk.co.nz



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