U.S. stocks trade higher as tech shares rally

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NEW YORK, March 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks traded higher on Thursday, underpinned by solid gains in major tech shares.

At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 204.91 points, or 1.03 percent, to 20,103.83. The S&P 500 climbed 25.62 points, or 1.07 percent, to 2,423.72. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 185.90 points, or 2.66 percent, to 7,175.75.

All the three major averages reversed their earlier losses to turn positive.

Shares of major U.S. tech giants, the FAANG group of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet, all rose in midday trading, contributing to the market.

Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors climbed, with energy up more than 4 percent, outpacing the rest.

The market movement followed a massive rout in the prior session.

The Dow dropped more than 1,300 points to 19,898.92 on Wednesday, marking its first close below 20,000 since February 2017. The S&P 500 fell more than 5 percent to close at 2,398.10, its lowest level since December 2018.

The S&P 500 tumbled 7 percent in the early afternoon on Wednesday, triggering a key circuit breaker that halted trading for 15 minutes. It was the second time this week that the circuit breaker had been triggered and the fourth time since last week.

On the data front, U.S. unemployment claims jumped as the coronavirus began to weigh on the economy.

In the week ending March 14, U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, came in at 281,000, an increase of 70,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 211,000, the Department of Labor reported on Thursday. Enditem

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