CLOSING UPDATE: Stocks Pad Early Gains After Syria Signals Possible End to Stand-Off Over Chemical Weapons

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Stocks rallied today, extending their rebound from the August sell-off following bullish data out of Asia this weekend and afternoon reports the Syrian government may turn over its chemical weapons to international authorities in a bid to avoid a U.S. military strike. Materials and energy stocks helped pace today's gains, supported by a 7.2% rise in Chinese exports last month, topping market expectations for a 5.5% rise. The strong exports data also lifted shares of U.S. industrial companies. Commodities were mixed.

All three of the major market gauges posted 1% or better gains for the session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Index moving back above its 15,000 mark.

The Syrian government said Monday that it would back a Russian proposal calling for it to hand over its arsenal of chemical weapons to international authorities in a bid to avoid a U.S. attack.

"We, for the sake of protecting our people and children and country and due to our trust in the Russian efforts, will cooperate fully with Russia in this regard so as to take away the excuses of this aggression," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said in a statement. Earlier, in a U.S. televised interview, Syrian President Bashar Assad denied government forces used chemical weapons last month.

It was a light day for U.S. economic data with only the Federal Reserve this afternoon reporting consumer borrowing increased to $10.4 billion during July over the prior month to a record high of $2.85 trillion. That followed a gain of $11.9 billion in June.

The General Administration of Customs in Beijing this weekend reported August exports rose 7.2% to $190.7 billion, up from a 5.1% pace during the prior month. Imports rose 7% year over year last month to $162.1 billion although that was down from July's 10.9% advance. Consumer prices rose 2.6% last month, the statistics bureau said today.

Also contributing to today's advance was a big, upward revision in Japan's gross domestic production figures for Q2 with government figures showing April-to-June GDP expanded at an annualized 3.8% pace - up from a preliminary reading of 2.6% growth.

Crude oil for October delivery settled $1.01 lower at $109.52 per barrel. October natural gas gained 8 cents to $3.61 per 1 million BTU. December gold fell 20 cents to $1,386.50 per ounce while December copper rose 2 cents to $3.28 per pound.

Here's where the U.s. markets stood at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 140.62 (+0.94%) to 15,063.12

S&P 500 up 16.54 (+1.00%) to 1,671.71

Nasdaq Composite Index up 46.17 (+1.26%) to 3,706.18

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Hang Seng Index up 0.57%

Shanghai China Composite up 3.39%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.03%

UPSIDE MOVERS.

(+) ISIS, Receives $100-mln upfront payment from Biogen Idec ( BIIB ) as part of multi-year pact to research, develop antisense technology to treat neurological diseases.

(+) FIO, FBN Securities upgrades the maker of storage memory platforms to Outperform with a $15 per share price target, citing potential value after Western Digital ( WDC ) today pays $685 mln for Virident Systems.

(+) MNTG, Agrees to a cash-and-stock merger with Eldorado Resorts, with Eldorado buying 5.8 million shares at $5.15 apiece and exchanging remaining MNTG common stock for shares in the combined companies.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) SN, Selling up to 8 mln shares of its common stock as well as $150-mln of senior notes with proceeds used to acquire additional properties in the Eagle Ford shale play.

(-) TSLA, Shares fall for third day in a row amid a fresh string of cautionary analysts remarks the electric auto-maker's stock price may be outpacing its actual value.

(-) HSOL, Narrows Q2 net loss by $0.11 from last year to $0.32 per ADS. Revenue rises 7.5% year over year to $192.7 mln. No analyst estimates were available.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: BIIB , WDC

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