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US: Banks, oil shares lead stocks higher

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished a middling week on a positive note on Friday, rallying behind solid earnings from JPMorgan Chase and Chevron's acquisition of Anadarko.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 1.0 per cent at 26,412.30, about 12 points shy of last Friday's close.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.7 per cent to 2,907.41, its first close above 2,900 in more than six months, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.5 per cent to 7,984.16.

JPMorgan got earnings season off to a strong start, jumping 4.7 per cent following better-than-expected results and offering upbeat commentary on the US economy.

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Most other large banks rallied, but Wells Fargo sank 2.6 per cent after trimming a key profit benchmark connected to 2019 profits.

Dow member Disney rocketed up 11.5 per cent after announcing it would launch its new video streaming service in the United States in November, spotlighting its blockbuster-making studios as it takes on powerhouse Netflix.

The gains left the company's share price at US$130.06, an all-time high, marking its biggest one-day increase in nearly a decade.

Shares of Netflix fell 4.5 per cent.

Midsized US oil companies EOG Resources and Devon Energy surged 6.7 per cent and 7.4 per cent respectively after Chevron announced it would acquire Anadarko Petroleum for US$33 billion, spurring speculation of other big deals in the industry.

Anadarko soared 32.1 per cent, while Chevron fell 4.9 per cent.

Health insurers were under pressure amid worries that major reforms of the US health system are gaining political momentum.

On Wednesday, US Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled an updated "Medicare for all" plan that would convert public and private insurers into a government-run system.

UnitedHealth Group dropped 5.2 per cent, Anthem fell 8.5 per cent and Humana lost 2.8 per cent.

AFP