New York Report: US stocks lifted as China posts upbeat data

US STOCKS closed sharply higher yesterday, with the Nasdaq ending at its highest level since September 2000, as upbeat data from China boosted optimism about the health of the global economy.

Sentiment was also lifted by merger activity and easing concerns about a potential Western-led strike on Syria.

The S&P 500 closed higher for a fifth straight sessions, posting its best daily performance since

1 August, while all 10 S&P sectors ended higher. More than 70 per cent of companies trading on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq rose.

Basic materials shares led the day’s gains, rising 1.5 per cent, after China’s August exports handily beat market expectations while consumer inflation held steady. US Steel Corp jumped 3.5 per cent to $19.53 while Alcoa rose two per cent to $8.08.

Equities added to gains in afternoon trading as it appeared less likely that a resolution authorising military strikes against Syria would easily pass the US legislature.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 140.62 points, or 0.94 per cent, at 15,063.12. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 16.54 points, or 1.00 per cent, at 1,671.71. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 46.17 points, or 1.26 per cent, at 3,706.18.

Deal news gave a further boost. Koch Industries agreed to buy electronic connectors maker Molex for about $7.2bn. Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board reached a deal to buy retailer Neiman Marcus.