Biotech helps Dow leap more than 120 points - New York Report

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Arebound in biotechnology companies yesterday pushed the S&P 500 to its highest level in three weeks as US stocks ended higher after a volatile session.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 121.96 points, or 0.73 per cent, to 16,912.15, the S&P 500 gained 15.9 points, or 0.8 per cent, to 1,995.82 and the Nasdaq Composite added 42.79 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 4,791.15.

The Nasdaq Biotech Index rose two per cent after falling 3.8 per cent in the previous session.

The rises on the Dow was driven in part by drug maker Merck & Co, which added 2.3 per cent.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Amgen were both up more than four per cent. Express Scripts said it reached deals to cover two costly new cholesterol drugs produced by the two companies. “On days where investors are looking for fallen angels, healthcare helps fill that equation today,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York. “What was a drag over past few days is now the leader.”

Twitter jumped eight per cent after Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and his investment firm raised their stake to more than five per cent.

Gains in US indexes, suggest that the worst might be over for commodity prices hit by concerns about China's economy, said Warren West, principal at Greentree Brokerage Services in Philadelphia. “We’re not so worried about commodities, we think they’re finding a bottom here,” West said.

YUM Brands plunged 18.8 per cent after reporting earnings that missed expectations. The fast food company also disappointed in its key China division with much weaker-than-expected growth in same-store sales.

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