US stocks end higher for 3rd straight day

New York - Wall Street stocks finished higher on Tuesday, 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 0.2% to end at 24 640.45.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.3% to close at 2 662.94, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.5% 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 February 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% or more.

Energy shares were on the weak side, amid lower oil prices, with Schlumberger, Halliburton and Apache all shedding 1% or more.

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

Sneaker maker and sports attire company Under Armour soared 16.0% after reporting that fourth-quarter revenues rose five percent to $1.4bn.

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