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4 years ago
US STOCKS-Wall St edges up on Syria delay, bets on Fed policy
September 11, 2013 / 6:03 PM / 4 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St edges up on Syria delay, bets on Fed policy

* Obama requests Congress to delay vote on Syria

* Apple extends fall after unveiling new iPhones, prices

* Dow up 0.6 pct, S&P up 0.1 pct, Nasdaq off 0.2 pct

By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK, Sept 11 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Wednesday, lifting the S&P 500 for its seventh straight day of gains, as concern over a possible U.S.-led strike on Syria ebbed and investors bet the Federal Reserve would trim its stimulus measures only slightly.

The market showed resilience even as Apple Inc, the largest U.S. publicly traded company by market capitalization, slumped nearly 6 percent a day after it unveiled new iPhone models and prices.

Market nervousness over a possible U.S.-led military strike against Syria abated as U.S. President Barack Obama, faced with resistance in polls and Congress, said a Russian offer to pressure Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control raised the chances of putting off a strike.

Traders looked ahead to the Fed's two-day policy meeting on Sept. 17-18 when a decision is expected to begin to wind down $85 billion a month in bond purchases to stimulate growth.

That stimulus has been key in buoying the economy and boosting the benchmark S&P 500 index by nearly 18 percent so far this year.

The latest developments regarding Syria and bets that the Fed's tapering of bond purchases will be slight are keeping the equities market afloat, said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois.

Jankovskis said the "moment has passed" for a strike on Syria, and weaker-than-expected jobs data will limit the Fed's ability to make stimulus changes.

"My feeling is they won't begin (tapering) in September," he said of the Fed. "Certainly there's room for the interpretation that they'll take very small steps."

In company news, hardware distributor Synnex Corp shares jumped 22 percent to $58.49 a day after it said it will buy IBM Corp's customer-care outsourcing business for $505 million. IBM shares rose 2 percent to $190.36 to lead gains on the Dow industrials.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 93.38 points or 0.61 percent, to 15,284.44, the S&P 500 gained 2.18 points or 0.13 percent, to 1,686.17 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 6.998 points or 0.19 percent, to 3,722.023.

Apple tumbled 5.4 percent to $468, on track for its steepest drop since April, and was the biggest drag on both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Credit Suisse, UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch each lowered their rating on the stock. Apple's loss of nearly $23 billion in market capitalization is roughly the total size of Dell.

Texas Instruments edged down 0.2 percent to $40.24 after the No. 3 U.S. chipmaker lowered its third-quarter forecast.

Economic data showed wholesale inventories for July edged up 0.1 percent, less than an expected rise of 0.3 percent, but better than June's 0.2 percent decline.

Harvest Natural Resources Inc surged 27 percent to $5.27 after the oil and gas producer said it was in exclusive talks to sell itself to Argentina's Pluspetrol in a deal valued at about $373 million including debt.

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