Wall Street in fresh record surge

Dow, S&P 500 both jump to new heights as investors tip strong US economic data.

US stocks have closed sharply higher as the controversial weekend referendum vote in Ukraine's east was largely overlooked by investors who instead stampeded into downtrodden 'momentum' stocks.

The flow-on effect from the strength of the tech-heavy Nasdaq saw the Dow comfortably clear the record highs it set last week, while the S&P 500 also broke new ground, rising into a record finish.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 112.13 points, or 0.68%, to 16,695.47, surpassing the record closing level set on Friday.

The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 18.17 points, or 0.97%, to 1,896.65, around five points above the record end-of-day high hit back on April 2, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index surged 71.99 points, or 1.77%, to 4,143.86.

Patrick O'Hare, analyst at Briefing.com, said bargain hunting in the tech sector was dictating investors' mindsets and tipped markets to continue their rise in coming weeks.

"That reversal of fortune has percolated thoughts that a short-term bottom at least has been established and that the next market leg will be higher," he said.

"That optimism has been fed in turn by the Dow Jones Industrial Average extending its reach into record territory."

Among the big winners were social networks Twitter (up 6%) and Facebook (4.5%), along with fellow prominent Nasdaq names Amazon (3.5%), Tesla (1.5%) and Google (2%). Bellwether Apple advanced a more sedate 1%.

Miners were also heavily bid after a positive view on the sector was put forward by JP Morgan's investment banking division in Britain. The shift in the firm's sentiment from 'underweight' to 'overweight' helped drive strong gains in mining stocks across Europe and the US, with Vale, Teck and Freeport McMoran all lifting 4%.

Gold miner Newmont Mining also added 2%, while BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto saw strong interest in their UK-listed stocks.

Investors were also bullish about upcoming US economic data on hopes for a bounce back after horrendous winter weather dampened growth in the first quarter. Retail sales and housing starts will be the most closely watched releases this week.

Meanwhile, markets were largely looking beyond a disputed poll in Ukraine's east that pro-Russian separatists claimed backed independence.

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