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US: Shares of oil companies and miners lift stocks

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[NEW YORK] Shares of oil companies and miners surged Wednesday behind higher commodities prices as US stocks notched gains for the third straight session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 257.42 points (1.59 per cent) to 16,453.83.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 31.24 (1.65 per cent) to 1,926.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 98.11 (2.21 per cent) at 4,534.06.

Sentiment was boosted by a 7.2 per cent rise in the price of Brent crude after Iran met with other major producers to discuss limiting output.

Petroleum producers Chevron and ConocoPhillips jumped a respective 4.1 per cent and 3.5 per cent. Copper producer Freeport McMoRan surged 12.4 per cent, while aluminum producer Alcoa gained 4.9 per cent.

"It's a great rally today," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. "Looks like investors are certainly celebrating higher oil prices." Banking shares advanced, with Bank of America gaining 2.5 per cent, Citigroup 2.3 per cent and Morgan Stanley 2.2 per cent.

Growth-oriented technology stocks had a good day, with Amazon climbing 2.5 per cent, Facebook 3.5 per cent and Netflix 6.4 per cent.

Priceline surged 11.2 per cent as fourth-quarter net income rose 11.6 per cent to US$504.3 million behind a 13 percent jump in gross travel bookings. It projected strong growth in the first quarter of 2016 for key benchmarks, with revenue expected to increase nine-16 per cent.

Devon Energy lost 4.4 per cent after slashing its dividend by 75 per cent and announcing it was cutting its 2016 exploration and production spending by 75 per cent.

Apple rose 1.5 per cent as it rejected a court order to help the FBI break into an iPhone used by one of the shooters in the December rampage that killed 14 people in California.

Fossil Group, which makes sunglasses and other accessories, soared 28.6 per cent as it projected 2016 net earnings of US$2.80-US$3.69 per share, compared with analyst expectations for US$3.18 per share.


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