U.S. stocks advance on Chinese economy, optimism over Syria

U.S. stocks climbed, extending the longest winning streak for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (CME:SPU13) since July, as data showed China’s economy is improving amid signs of easing tensions over Syria.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Visa Inc. and Nike Inc. jumped more than 1.6% as the three companies will be added to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, replacing Bank of America Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Alcoa Inc. McDonald’s Corp. climbed 0.4% as sales at stores open at least 13 months topping estimates. Apple Inc. tumbled 1.9% as the world’s biggest technology company unveiled new iPhone models.

The S&P 500 advanced 0.6% to 1,681.70 at 2:52 p.m. in New York. The index has gained for six straight days, the most since July 15. The Dow rose 109.88 points, or 0.7%, to 15,173 today. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 16% higher than the 30-day average at this time of day.

“The news from Syria is positive and we had decent economic data out of China,” Gary Flam, a portfolio manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors LLC in Los Angeles, said in a phone interview. His firm oversees $7 billion. “Investors came into September cautiously positioned, but one by one their concerns are being removed or lessened.”

The S&P 500 has risen 3% in the first six trading days of the month, recovering from a drop of as much as 4.6% since a record high on Aug. 2. The benchmark index declined amid concern over a possible military strike against Syria and the prospect for the Federal Reserve scaling back its monetary stimulus.

Russian Plan

France said it will submit a Russian-backed plan to confiscate Syria’s chemical weapons to the United Nations, as Interfax reported that Bashar al-Assad’s government accepted the proposal.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to outline his intentions on Syria in a speech at 9 p.m. tonight in Washington. New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report today that the Syrian government is the probable perpetrator of a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that killed hundreds of people in the suburbs of Damascus.

Stocks rose earlier today after China’s industrial output rose 10.4% in August from a year earlier and retail sales gained 13.4%, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. Both results exceeded economists’ estimates. The S&P 500 climbed yesterday and the Dow surged the most in two months as China’s exports topped forecasts.

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