While you were sleeping: Berkshire lifts Wall Street

Wall Street gained amid solid US corporate earnings including from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and as a Portuguese bank bailout diminished concern about another flare-up for the euro-zone's credit crisis.

In afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.18 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.45 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.52 percent.

Gains in shares of Walt Disney and Caterpillar, up 2 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, led the Dow higher.

Last week the S&P 500 posted its largest drop since 2012.

"We're in a very strong bull market right now," Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York, told Reuters.

Shares of Berkshire Hathaway climbed, up 3 percent, after the company posted late Friday a record net income in the second quarter. Buffett's company also reported that it now has about $US50 billion in cash for acquisitions.

It wasn't all blue skies on Wall Street.

Shares of Michael Kors plunged, down 6.5 percent, after the company said its gross margin will drop this year.

Shares of McDonald's fell, last down 0.4 percent, after the company said sales in China and Japan are suffering a "significant negative impact" because of a food safety scandal in China. The affected markets account for about 10 percent of its total revenue, the fast-food restaurant chain operator said.

"Risks have ticked up in the near-term regarding McDonald's business in China and Japan," Janney Capital Markets analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in a note, Reuters reported.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the session with a 0.2 percent decline from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 Index inched 0.02 percent lower, while Germany's DAX shed 0.6 percent. France's CAC 40 rose 0.3 percent.

A Sentix report showed that investor confidence in the euro zone was worse than expected in August, with the sentiment index declining to 2.7, from 10.1 in July.

Portugal's PSI 20 Index rose 1 percent after the nation's central bank announced a US$6.6 billion bailout for Banco Espirito Santo. That move also helped lift other banks across the region.

"The plan carries no risk to public finances or taxpayers," Carlos Costa, Bank of Portugal's governor, told reporters in a late night news conference in Lisbon, Reuters reported


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