New York Report: Wall Street up after biotech stocks surge

WALL Street ended higher for the second straight session yesterday, led by small-cap stocks, while the Nasdaq climbed on a rally in biotech shares.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10.02 points or 0.06 per cent, to end at 16,543.08. The S&P 500 gained 4.46 points or 0.24 per cent, to 1,892.49. The Nasdaq Composite added 22.81 points or 0.55 per cent, to close at 4,154.34.

The surge in biotech stocks extended the recent trend of volatile trading. Small-caps and the so-called momentum names in the internet and biotech spaces have recently echoed the broader market’s direction, but moved in an outsized fashion, often without specific news.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals shares shot up six per cent to $71.18, while Alexion Pharmaceuticals rose 2.5 per cent to $160.48. Shares of Salesforce.com, the world’s biggest maker of online sales software, advanced 6.1 per cent to $53.27.

Shares of JD.Com soared in their market debut yesterday, jumping 10 per cent to close at $20.90 after the Chinese e-commerce company raised $1.78bn in an initial public offering.

However, Hewlett-Packard posted a bigger-than-expected drop of one per cent in quarterly revenue as it struggled to maintain its grip on a shrinking personal computer market. The stock pared earlier gains to end down 2.3 per cent at $31.78.

About 5.1bn shares traded on all US platforms, according to BATS exchange data, below the month-to-date average of 5.9bn.