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U.S. equities firm on U.S. service sector data

U.S. stocks turned slightly positive on Monday, reversing earlier losses as investors shrugged off worries over Ukraine and weak China data, with sentiment boosted by a better-than-expected ISM report. Gold is near a three-week high, oil eased. The ASX SPI 200 is up ten points to 5465.

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U.S. stocks turned slightly positive on Monday, reversing earlier losses as investors shrugged off worries over Ukraine and weak China data, with sentiment boosted by a better-than-expected ISM report.

Investors were encouraged after the Institute for Supply Management released its monthly non-manufacturing index, which showed that growth picked up last month for the U.S. service sector and other non-manufacturing companies.

The index rose to 55.2% in April, the highest reading in six months, far better than the 54.1% expected and up from 53.1% in March.

By the close the Dow Jones had edged up 18 points to 16,531, while the S&P 500 added 3.5 points to 1884.7. The NASDAQ firmed 14 points to 4138.

Earlier Monday, stock futures were under pressure after weak China manufacturing data and as tensions rose in Ukraine following weekend clashes in six cities.


Commodities: gold eyes three-week high

Gold for June delivery increased 0.5% to finish at US$1,309.30 an ounce on Comex.

June crude surrendered 0.3% to end at US$99.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as China’s manufacturing gauge continued to show a contraction.


Wall Street round-up

In corporate activity, Target's (NYSE:TGT) CEO Gregg Steinhafel has resigned amid the fallout from the data breach with immediate effect, with CFO John Mulligan named interim CEO. Shares fell more than 3% Monday.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) shares dropped 2.6% after reporting first quarter profit shrank 15% as it posted weaker revenue in its two largest businesses. The drug maker didn't comment about its proposed takeover of AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) except to note that because of rules in the UK Takeover Code, it isn't currently permitted to confirm or update its bottom line 2014 earnings guidance.

Meanwhile, the latest legal war between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung has concluded, with Apple winning a nearly $120 million award, much less than the iPad maker had initially sought. The result came down to the jury's interpretation of rival patents.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) is recalling nearly 52,000 SUV models due to a possibly inaccurate fuel gauge, with shares of the company falling 0.6% during the session.

B/E Aerospace (NASDAQ:BEAV) jumped over 9% after the company said it is considering selling itself, splitting itself up or divesting some of its operations. It postponed an investor meeting that was due to take place today.

A six month lock up on 480 million Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) shares is due to expire today, releasing for trading over four times the amount of stock that is already available. Its shares fell 0.7% on Monday, extending year-to-date losses to over 39%.

 

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