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US: Stocks lifted by oil rally, Buffett's Apple stake


[NEW YORK] US stocks pushed firmly higher Monday after billionaire investor Warren Buffett took a US$1 billion bite into Apple and oil prices surged to new 2016 peaks.

Asian markets also rose on signs that governments would continue growth-favoring policies, while bourses in Paris and London avoided big swings on a day that Frankfurt was closed due to a bank holiday.

On Wall Street, the broad-based S&P finished up 1.0 per cent. Some analysts said the US market was primed to go higher after falling three weeks in a row.

"The market declined for three consecutive weeks and maybe it reached the point it attracted some buyers," said Bill Lynch, director of investment for Hinsdale Associates.

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Apple surged 3.7 per cent following the disclosure of the Buffett stake, which comes about two and a half weeks after another prominent investor, Carl Icahn, said he had exited the US tech giant.

Apple, the world's biggest company by market capitalisation, has been under pressure as a result of slowing iPhone sales, threatening its chief revenue and profit source.

Petroleum-linked shares rallied, as oil prices closed at new 2016 highs after Goldman Sachs said the petroleum market was in a short-term supply deficit.

Most retailers also scored handsome gains, with Home Depot and Wal-Mart both advancing 1.7 per cent ahead of earnings releases this week. The sector was battered last week following disappointing results from Macy's and others.