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Wall Street Gains as Syria Fears Ease

Wall Street Gains as Syria Fears Ease

U.S. stocks advanced on Monday as fears of a growing conflict in Syria eased, while some of the largest U.S. companies posted solid quarterly results.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 212.90 points to close at 24,573.04, with Merck helping lead the gains in the index. The S&P 500 climbed 0.8 percent to 2,677.84, with materials and telecommunications as the best-performing sectors. The Nasdaq composite advanced 0.7 percent to 7,156.28.

Gains were broad-based, with all 11 primary S&P 500 sectors higher on the day and eight of them increasing by at least one percent. The Cboe Volatility Index dropped five percent and was poised for its lowest close in about a month.

Investors kept an eye on corporate earnings after Bank of America posted stronger-than-expected quarterly results. The bank's earnings were helped by loan growth and lower corporate taxes. Shares of Bank of America climbed 0.4 percent.

The financial sector gained 0.8 percent on Monday.

Merck & Co rose 2.4 percent after it released late-stage results showing that a cancer drug combination using its Keytruda reduced patients' risk of death by half, a significant improvement. The stock was one of the biggest boosts to the Dow.

J.B Hunt Transport gained over six percent on the back of a stronger-than-expected quarterly revenue, led by a 14 percent jump in Intermodal sales, its largest segment. The stock was the best-performing stock in both the S&P 500 and Dow industrials.

The earnings season is off to a good start thus far. Last week, BlackRock, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup reported better-than-expected earnings.

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