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Saturday, 23 January 2016 | MYT 2:34 AM

Wall Street set for first weekly gain of 2016 as oil soars

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At 12:37pm in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 137.66 points (0.87%) at 16,020.34. The AFP photo shows the corner of Wall and Broad Street across from the New York Stock Exchange.

At 12:37pm in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 137.66 points (0.87%) at 16,020.34. The AFP photo shows the corner of Wall and Broad Street across from the New York Stock Exchange.

NEW YORK: Wall Street rallied on Friday, heading toward its first positive week of 2016, as a cold snap in the United States and Europe helped send oil prices surging for a second day.

All 10 major S&P sectors were in the black, led by a 3.34% jump in energy stocks.

Crude prices, still under pressure from a global glut, were up nearly 8% as freezing conditions and snowstorms boosted short-term demand for heating oil and traders cashed in their short positions.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s comments on Thursday suggesting that the bank could ease its monetary policy at its March meeting also encouraged investors bruised by a brutal selloff that began at the start of 2016.

The US stock market has failed to sustain any rallies this year as risk-averse investors search for signs of stability amid worries of a China-led global slowdown.

Up to Thursday’s close, the S&P 500 had fallen 8.6% in 2016, having closed higher in only six of the 13 sessions.

“I do think that even just to get a couple of days here with neutral, rather than downward, movement is going to be a positive because it’s going to settle some fears,” said Paul Springmeyer, senior portfolio manager at the private client reserve at US Bank in Minneapolis.

“Long term, the stability of the US economy is really what’s at play here and all signs, with low inflation and low oil prices, are pointing to an ability to move forward and move higher,” Springmeyer added.

US economic data on Friday showed existing home sales soared nearly 15% in December, handily beating estimates and recovering from a 10.5% fall in November.

At 12:37pm ET (1737 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 137.66 points, or 0.87%, at 16,020.34, the S&P 500 was up 28.5 points, or 1.52%, at 1,897.49 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 90.06 points, or 2.01%, at 4,562.11.

Apple was up 3.9% at US$100.10 and gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster advised investors to buy into the iPhone maker heading into its quarterly results next week.

Fourth-quarter earnings reports are likely to offer little cheer, with S&P 500 companies on average expected to post a 4.3% decline in profit, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Shares of General Electric were down 2.3% at US$27.94 after the company’s quarterly revenue missed analysts’ estimates.

American Express was down 12% at US$55.14 after the company issued disappointing earnings forecast.

The two stocks were the biggest losers on the Dow.

Schlumberger was up 4.8% at US$64.42 after the world’s biggest oilfield services company reported better-than-expected profit and set a US$10bil buyback program.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,740 to 337. On the Nasdaq, 2,195 issues rose and 555 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed two new 52-week highs and seven new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded eight new highs and 34 new lows. - Reuters

Tags / Keywords: Foreign News , Stocks

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