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US: Wall St rises as investors eye rate hike delay, oil up

[NEW YORK] US stocks jumped on Monday, with the S&P 500 rising for the fifth day in a row, as rising oil prices boosted energy stocks and investors bet the Federal Reserve would not raise interest rates this year.

The S&P's five-day rise of 5.6 per cent was its best five days dating back to late 2011. Monday saw strong increases in industrials, energy, telecommunications and materials stocks.

Friday's US nonfarm payrolls report for September showed job growth slowed in the last three months, increasing prospects that the era of near-zero interest rates will continue for a while yet. "Wall Street's favorite movie is 'Nightmare on Your Street'. The missed unemployment number means the Fed is probably going to hold longer," said Stephen Massocca, Chief Investment Officer at Wedbush Equity Management LLC in San Francisco.

The Fed, which has not raised interest rates since June 2006, kept its benchmark rate unchanged in September, citing an uncertain global economic outlook and volatile markets.

Traders are pricing in only a 31-per cent chance of a December hike, down from 44 per cent before the jobs report, according to CME Group's FedWatch program.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 304.06 points, or 1.85 per cent, to 16,776.43, the S&P 500 gained 35.69 points, or 1.83 per cent, to 1,987.05 and the Nasdaq Composite added 73.49 points, or 1.56 per cent, to 4,781.26.

All 10 major S&P sectors closed higher. The top boost for the industrial index's 3-per cent rise was GE. It jumped 5.3 per cent after Nelson Peltz's Trian Fund Management disclosed a roughly 1-per cent stake.

Energy stocks jumped 2.9 per cent, boosted by a 1.5 per cent rise in US crude oil prices. They were helped by a rally in US gasoline and Russia's willingness to meet other major oil producers to discuss the market.

The Nasdaq biotechnology index fell 0.7 per cent, breaking three days of gains. The index was crushed in the previous eight sessions on investor worries about drug price regulations.

The United States and other Pacific Rim countries reached a trade liberalization deal which fell short of industry group expectations for drug patent protection.

DuPont shares shot up 5.5 per cent in after-market trading when the chemical company announced its chief executive was retiring and that it had extended cost cuts. Trian Fund Management co-founder Nelson Peltz has been calling for deep cost cuts and a breakup of Dupont.

With third-quarter earnings season starting this week, investors are beginning to factor in what could be the biggest fall in profits for S&P 500 companies in six years. Wall Street expects S&P 500 companies to report a 4.2 per cent decline in earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,734 to 373, for a 7.33-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 2,187 issues rose and 627 fell for a 3.49-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The S&P 500 posted nine new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 43 new highs and 33 lows.

Volume was strong with about 7.86 billion shares changing hands on US exchanges, above the 7.32 billion average for the previous 20 sessions, according to Thomson Reuters data.