US STOCKS-Wall St rises as Syria fears ease; healthcare stocks jump

Reuters

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    * Merck up 3.2 percent on positive drug data
    * JB Hunt jumps after results 
    * Indexes up: Dow 0.82 pct, S&P 0.65 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct

 (Changes comment, adds details, updates prices)
    By Sruthi Shankar
    April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Monday, boosted by
healthcare stocks and on easing fears that the recent U.S.-led
missile attack on Syria would escalate into a broader conflict.
    Merck  MRK.N  rose 2.5 percent after the company presented
positive data on its cancer drug Keytruda, driving a 0.7 percent
gain in the healthcare index  .SPXHC .  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1RQ297
    The market appeared less concerned about possible
retaliation from the air strikes, which marked the biggest
intervention by Western countries against Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad and his ally Russia.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1RT2KB
    "The action was well-received ... and that's giving a chance
for investors to focus on macro news and earnings," said Peter
Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities
in New York.
    Attention turned to what is expected to be a robust
first-quarter earnings season.
    Shares of JB Hunt Transport Services  JBHT.O  jumped 7
percent after the trucking company's profit topped estimates.
    But Bank of America  BAC.N  edged lower despite reporting a
better-than-expected increase in quarterly profit.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N1RT46T
    "People are optimistic in the earnings season ... but there
are a lot of forces working in the market - technicals, earnings
and geopolitics, which is the biggest wild card," said J.J.
Feldman, portfolio manager at Los Angeles-based Miracle Mile
Advisors.
    At 11:10 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  .DJI 
was up 0.82 percent at 24,560.96. The S&P 500  .SPX  gained 0.65
percent to 2,673.6 and the Nasdaq Composite  .IXIC  rose 0.4
percent at 7,135.34.
    All the 11 major S&P sectors were higher, with a 1.2 percent
gain in the utilities index  .SPLRCU  leading the gainers.
    Shares of optical components makers Acacia Communications
 ACIA.O , Oclaro  OCLR.O , Lumentum  LITE.O  and Finisar
 FNSR.O  took a beating after Reuters reported that the U.S.
government was banning American companies from selling
components to Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp
 0000063.SZ   0763.HK .  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N1RT0H3
    Netflix  NFLX.O  fell more than 2 percent. The company is
expected to reports results after the closing bell on Monday. 
    Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE for a
2.90-to-1 ratio. On the Nasdaq, a 1.71-to-1 ratio favored
advancers.

 (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil
D'Silva)
 ((sruthi.shankar@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223
8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6328; Reuters Messaging:
sruthi.shankar.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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