New York Report: Syria pause and car sales data lift stocks

U S stocks rose for a second day yesterday as a possible military action in Syria was seen as limited and strong auto sales lifted investor confidence in the US economy.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution authorizing a limited U.S. military intervention in Syria, setting the stage for a debate in the full Senate next week on the use of military force.

The Obama administration is seeking support from Congress to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians. Markets have been on tenterhooks over possible spillover in the Middle East.

Shares of Ford and General Motors posted their best day of the year as August US auto sales marked the strongest month since October 2007. Ford jumped 3.5 per cent to $16.91 and GM added five per cent to $35.85.

Car sales were “another piece of solid macro data and may be justifying today's move,” said Ken Polcari, director of the NYSE floor division at O’Neil Securities in New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.91 points or 0.65 per cent, to 14,930.87, the S&P 500 gained 13.31 points or 0.81 per cent, to 1,653.08 and the Nasdaq Composite added 36.43 points or 1.01 per cent, to 3,649.042.

The S&P 500 is up 1.2 per cent for the week so far after a loss of 1.8 per cent last week, which was tied largely to worries over Syria.

About 6.1bn shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT.