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US: Higher oil prices, jobs data boost stocks

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rose on Wednesday following solid US hiring data and a rise in oil prices that lifted petroleum-linked equities.

Payroll firm ADP reported that private US companies added 179,000 jobs in July, slightly better than expected.

Dow member Chevron rose 1.0 per cent, while Apache gained 3.6 per cent and Halliburton 2.1 per cent after oil prices advanced following a dip in US gasoline inventories.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2 per cent at 18,355.00.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.3 per cent to 2,163.79, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 per cent to 5,159.74.

Stocks with big gains included Apple, up 1.3 per cent, and large banks such as Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, which rose 2.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

Time Warner climbed 2.7 per cent after announcing it was taking a 10 per cent stake in Hulu, a streaming video provider that is ramping up as a competitor to sector leader Netflix.

Twitter jumped 7.3 per cent on speculation the microblogging company could be acquired.

Insurer AIG surged 7.3 per cent after reporting better-than-expected earnings in the second quarter and announcing plans for US$3 billion in share repurchases.

Women's handbag maker Kate Spade plunged 18.2 per cent as it slashed its full-year forecast, in part due to weakness in the tourism business. It now expects full-year earnings per share of between 63 cents and 70 cents per share, down from the prior range of between 70 and 80 cents per share.

Wearables company Fitbit surged 13.5 per cent as it reported a 46.5 per cent rise in second-quarter sales to US$586.5 million.