New York Report: High growth sectors give a lift to US stocks

US STOCKS rose yesterday, boosted by upbeat results from companies including Merck and a rebound in Facebook and other high-growth shares.

Merck’s shares climbed 3.6 per cent to $58.72, giving the S&P 500 its biggest lift, after it reported stronger-than-expected earnings.

Further deal activity on the healthcare front also lifted the market. UK firm Reckitt Benckiser confirmed talks to buy Merck’s consumer health business, the latest asset up for grabs in a wave of recent pharmaceutical deals.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 86.63 points or 0.53 per cent, to 16,535.37, the S&P 500 gained 8.9 points or 0.48 per cent, to 1,878.33 and the Nasdaq Composite added 29.142 points or 0.72 per cent, to close at 4,103.543.

Shares of Facebook, up 3.6 per cent at $58.15, led the way higher on the Nasdaq, a day after selling off along with a host of other momentum names.

Sprint shares jumped 11.3 per cent to $8.27. The No3 US mobile provider reported an increase in quarterly revenue, as expected, due to a new billing plan that lowered wireless expenses.

On the down side, Coach reported a sharp drop in North American sales and the stock slumped 9.3 per cent to $45.71.

Archer Daniels Midland finished down 2.6 per cent at $43.23 after its first-quarter profit and sales missed Wall Street estimates.

About 6.3bn shares changed hands on US exchanges, below the 6.6bn average this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.