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* Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet lead indexes higher
* Tesla gains after Shanghai factory resumes production
* Simon Properties to buy Taubman Centers for $3.6 bln
* Indexes up: Dow 0.14%, S&P 0.26%, Nasdaq 0.61% (Updates to late afternoon, changes dateline, byline)
By Stephen Culp
NEW YORK, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Wall Street gained ground and the Nasdaq reached a new record on Monday as Chinese workers and factories slowly returned to business following a Lunar New Year holiday that was extended due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
All three major U.S. stock averages were higher, led by stalwarts Amazon.com, Microsoft Corp and Alphabet Inc.
Worries over the coronavirus continued to keep market participants on edge, with the death toll rising to 908 and the World Health Organization (WHO) warning that new cases outside of China could be “the spark that becomes a bigger fire.”
But generally upbeat earnings and early signs that the virus was being contained helped attract buyers to the equities market.
“It seems like the world is dealing with (the coronavirus) as best as it can,” said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia. “It’s accepted there will be a slowdown due to it and the world has looked right through that when it comes to valuing stocks.”
“We know the coronavirus will affect results at least in first quarter,” Tuz added. “(But) we’ll be back to growth as usual for the rest of the year.”
Tesla Inc’s stock rose 2.7% on news that its Shanghai factory had resumed production, and iPhone maker Foxconn re-started a key plant in China with 10% of its workforce.
That is cold comfort for Apple, whose iPhone sales in China could plunge by as much as 50% due to the virus, according to analysts.
The fast-spreading coronavirus has now caused more deaths than the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, and has affected a broad range of companies and sectors.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 41.05 points, or 0.14%, to 29,143.56, the S&P 500 gained 8.73 points, or 0.26%, to 3,336.44 and the Nasdaq Composite added 58.03 points, or 0.61%, to 9,578.54.
Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500 all but energy , financial and materials were in the black, with consumer discretionary enjoying the largest percentage gain.
Fourth-quarter reporting season is approaching the final reel, with 324 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. Of those, 70.7% have beat Street estimates, according to Refinitiv data.
Analysts now see aggregate year-on-year fourth-quarter earnings growth of 2.3%, a reversal from the 0.3% decline analysts projected on Jan 1.
Mall operator Taubman Centers Inc jumped 53.2% on news that it would be bought by larger rival Simon Property Group Inc in a deal valued at $3.6 billion. Simon Property Group’s shares inched up 0.6%.
Eli Lilly dropped 1.0% after experimental Alzheimer’s treatments from the U.S. pharmaceutical firm and Switzerland’s Roche failed to halt the disease.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.16-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.13-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 37 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 84 new highs and 80 new lows. (Reporting by Stephen Culp Editing by Nick Zieminski)