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US: Higher oil prices lift stocks

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[NEW YORK] The Dow and S&P 500 vaulted to their highest level of 2016 on Wednesday, shrugging off mixed earnings reports as oil prices jumped about four percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 42.67 points (0.24 per cent) to 18,096.27, it highest close since July 2015.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 1.60 (0.08 per cent) to 2,102.40, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 7.80 (0.16 per cent) at 4,948.13.

Oil prices in New York surged 3.8 per cent to US$42.63 a barrel following official data showing lower US oil production.

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Oil prices "have been the highest correlated factor to the stock market and that's why we're getting higher," said Alan Skrainka, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth Management.

Dow member Coca-Cola tumbled 4.8 per cent as it reported a 4.8 per cent decline in first-quarter earnings to US$1.5 billion. Revenues fell in all of Coca-Cola's reporting regions outside North America.

Chipmaker Intel advanced 1.3 per cent after saying it would trim 12,000 jobs, about 11 per cent of its staff, as it refashions itself away from the declining personal computers market and toward wearables and other mobile technology.

Yahoo jumped 4.2 per cent as chief executive Marissa Mayer said the struggling Internet company "made substantial progress toward potential strategic alternatives."

US telecoms giant Verizon has emerged as a leading contender to take over Yahoo, according to US media reports.

United Continental rose 1.0 per cent as the parent of United Airlines named two designees of investors Altimeter Capital Management, LP and PAR Capital Management to its board of directors, averting a proxy battle at the upcoming annual meeting.

Banking shares advanced, with Bank of America rising 3.3 per cent, JPMorgan Chase 1.5 per cent and Wells Fargo 1.1 per cent.

AFP

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