Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)

US stocks end higher for third straight day

Wall Street stocks finished higher on Tuesday (Feb 13), rising for a third straight session, amid somewhat better investor sentiment ahead of a closely-watched US inflation report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39.18 points (0.16 per cent) to end at 24,640.45.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 6.94 points (0.26 per cent) to close at 2,662.94, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 31.55 points (0.45 per cent) to 7,013.51.

US stocks opened lower but swung into positive territory at midday and stayed there. Still, investors remained cautious after a bruising endured after the strong Feb 2 jobs report, which ignited fears about inflation.

"It feels better than yesterday," said FTN Financial chief economist Chris Low, while noting that volatility remains elevated. "We'll still have ups and downs and in the next week or two, we could retest the lows. But it feels a little better."

Analysts are looking ahead to Wednesday's report on US consumer prices, which could inflame or defuse anxiety that rising inflation will spur the Federal Reserve to hasten interest rate hikes.

During the session, consumer stocks were strong, with Walmart, Target and Costco Wholesale all winning 1.5 per cent or more.

Energy shares were on the weak side, amid lower oil prices, with Schlumberger, Halliburton and Apache all shedding one per cent or more.

Drug distributor AmerisourceBergen surged 9.3 per cent following a Wall Street Journal report that Walgreens Boots Alliance approached the company about a takeover. Walgreens Boots dipped 0.3 per cent.

Sneaker maker and sports attire company Under Armour soared 16.0 per cent after reporting that fourth-quarter revenues rose five per cent to US$1.4 billion.

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