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Overnight Markets: Citigroup results boost Wall Street

Overnight Markets: Citigroup results boost Wall Street

Wall Street gained on Monday after receiving a boost from solid earnings from Citigroup and a strong pick-up in retail sales last month.

The Dow Jones industrial average surged 146 points, or 0.91%, to end at 16,173. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 15 points, or 0.82%, to finish at 1,831. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 23 points, or 0.57%, to close at 4,023.

Shares gained yesterday in early trading as strong results from Citigroup and bullish retail sales data lifted sentiment, though equities lost ground in the last hour of trading. US retail sales recorded their largest increase in 1-1/2 years in March.

Geopolitical tensions resurfaced after pro-Russian separatists ignored an ultimatum to leave occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine as a threatened military offensive by government forces failed to materialise. Rebels in the town of Slaviansk issued a bold call for Russian President Vladimir Putin to help them.

Financial shares rose after Citigroup (C.N) reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations, aided by a smaller loss on its troubled assets even as its revenue declined. The stock rose 4.4%. Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) shares gained 1.5%, while Morgan Stanley (MS.N) shot up 2.1%.

Biotech shares remained volatile, after the sector entered bear market territory on Friday. Intuitive Surgical (ISRG.O) fell 3.3%.

Medtronic (MDT.N) shares fell 1.9% after a US court ruling temporarily stopped sales of the company's aortic heart valve replacement system in the US because of a patent infringement.

Shares of Edwards Lifesciences (EW.N), which was on the other side of the ruling, surged 11%.

Shares of Aspen Insurance Holdings (AHL.N) jumped 11.2% after Endurance Specialty (ENH.N) offered to buy Aspen for $3.2 billion in cash and stock. Endurance shares slid 2.8%.

In Asia, shares gained for the first time in three days on Tuesday after the largest jump in US retail sales since 2012 added to optimism that the recovery in the world’s biggest economy is intact.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.2% to 138 as of 9:40 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index rose 0.5% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.6%. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index and South Korea’s Kospi index both advanced 0.1%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.2% and the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.5%. Taiwan’s Taiex Index advanced 0.5% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.8%.

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