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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.

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.