New York Report: Wall St rises as Obama helps calm Syria fears

US stocks closed higher yesterday, with the S&P 500 up for a seventh straight day, as geopolitical fears eased amid diplomatic efforts to allow Syria to surrender its chemical weapons, averting a US military strike.

The Nasdaq composite index ended slightly lower on a sell-off of Apple shares.

Market nervousness abated as US 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.

In a nationally televised speech on Tuesday night, the president asked congressional leaders to delay a vote on authorizing military force to give the diplomatic efforts a chance.

The S&P 500 has risen about 3.4 per cent over the past seven sessions, its longest winning streak since July.

Wall Street showed resilience even as Apple, the largest US publicly traded company by market capitalisation, slumped a day after it unveiled new iPhone models that disappointed investors who were hoping for a cheaper versions or a new product line. The stock fell 5.4 per cent to $467.71, extending a 2.3 per cent decline in the previous session. The stock suffered its worst two-day performance since 18 April, and its loss of nearly $23bn in market capitalisation is roughly the total size of Dell.

Dow Jones industrial average was up 135.16 points, or 0.89 per cent, at 15,326.22. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 5.11 points, or 0.30 per cent, at 1,689.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 4.01 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 3,725.01.