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US stocks rise as Monsanto eases profit worry

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NEW YORK, Apr 5 (Reuters) U.S. stock rose on Wednesday as Monsanto Co's higher-than-expected profit eased worries about the first-quarter earnings outlook, while Apple Computer Inc. drove the Nasdaq to fresh 5-year highs.

Monsanto, an agricultural products company, posted an 18 percent jump in fiscal second-quarter profit, beating Wall Street estimates.

''There's a few potholes in the road, but the earnings numbers are coming in pretty good and the Street expects those numbers to continue,'' said Warren Simpson, managing director at Stephens Capital Management.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 29.94 points, or 0.27 percent, at 11,233.79. The Standard&Poor's 500 Index was up 2.48 points, or 0.19 percent, at 1,308.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 7.42 points, or 0.32 percent, at 2,352.78.

Apple, the maker of the highly popular iPod digital music players, announced the release of a software patch under its plan to move its computers over to Intel Corp.'s microprocessors. ID:nWEN4020 Apple's shares registered their biggest one-day percentage gain in nearly 6 months.

Monsanto and Apple overshadowed a profit warning from heart-device maker St. Jude Medical Inc., whose stock drop more than 13 percent. The company cut its revenue and earnings forecast late on Tuesday.

Monsanto shares rose 1.3 percent to .97 on the New York Stock Exchange, while Apple jumped 6 percent to .75 on the Nasdaq.

St. Jude Medical shares fell 12.5 percent to .15 on the NYSE.

REUTERS CS BS2047

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