Commodities, oil fuel Santa rally in Europe, US

[NEW YORK] European and US bourses jumped on Wednesday as large gains in energy and commodity stocks propelled talk of a "Santa Claus rally."

Markets in London, Frankfurt and Paris all gained more than two per cent, while the S&P 500 climbed 1.2 per cent as US equities pushed higher for a third straight session.

The rally came as a surprisingly big decline in US oil inventories lifted oil prices and spurred talk that the market may have bottomed out.

Analysts also cited reports that Chinese government officials plan to boost the budget deficit in 2016 to support the economy.

Hugh Johnson, who runs the investment firm Hugh Johnson Advisors, said investors have been worried that the commodity and energy rout heralds a worse-than-expected drop in demand from China and other key economies.

"Once you start to see some stability in oil and commodity prices, it gives you a little sense of relief," Mr Johnson said.

Analysts also pointed to talk of a "Santa Claus rally" that often lifts stocks at the end of the year. Historically, the S&P 500 has advanced three out of every four Decembers.

Also, staff absences ahead of Friday's Christmas holiday means "there is thin holiday trading here that is probably exaggerating the moves a little bit," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange.

Miners were the top gainers on London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares.

Anglo American jumped 9.1 per cent, Glencore was close behind with a 8.5 per cent gain, while BHP Billiton advanced 6.9 per cent.

In the US, Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron each rose more than three percent, joining an assortment of beaten-down shares in the energy sector, which has badly lagged other sectors in 2015.

Official data showed US consumer spending rose 0.3 per cent in November, while a read on durable goods orders came in above expectations and new home sales rose somewhat less than expected.

Esiner said the US data was "decent" overall and "suggests the economy has some relative momentum go into the end of the year." The dollar rose against the euro, but retreated a bit against the yen.

Madrid's IBEX 35 index continued its recovery from heavy losses at the start of the week, winning 2.4 per cent even though conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's bid to form a new government following an inconclusive weekend election received a setback when the Socialists refused to support him.



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