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US: Stocks rise for second straight day; S&P 500 +2.0%


[NEW YORK] US stocks rose for a second straight session Friday, joining a global rally propelled by higher oil prices and increased confidence further monetary stimulus is on the way.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 210.83 points (1.33 per cent) to 16,093.51.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 37.91 (2.03 per cent) at 1,906.90, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 119.12 (2.66 per cent) to 4,591.18.

Sentiment was boosted by a nine percent leap in US oil prices to US$32.19 a barrel. Analysts also cited a report in the Nikkei business daily that the Bank of Japan was considering more economy-boosting measures to counter fears of deflation.

US stocks were solidly in positive territory the entire session, an improvement over Thursday when equities veered at times into the red.

Yet analysts said it was too soon to declare an all-clear after a bruising open to 2016 trade.

"We'd like to see a continuing improvement in corporate earnings as we get into the heart of the earnings season and we need to see a stabilization in oil prices, along with a quiet environment out of China for stocks to continue to recover from what has been a very challenging environment," said David Levy of Republic Wealth Advisors.

"Until we clearly break the bear market trends, there's still a lot of uncertainty, still a lot of doubt," said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial Petroleum-linked shares were standouts on Wall Street, with Dow member ExxonMobil rising 3.3 per cent, Anadarko Petroleum 5.8 per cent and Halliburton 3.1 per cent.

Technology stocks were also strong. Apple jumped 5.3 per cent, Amazon 3.7 per cent and Microsoft 3.6 per cent.

Dow member American Express plunged 12.1 per cent after announcing plans to cut US$1 billion in spending in response to a dim profit outlook for the next two years. The credit card company said it faces tougher competition for its traditional base of affluent customers.

Dow member General Electric lost 1.2 per cent after reporting that industrial operating profits fell eight percent in the fourth quarter to US$5.5 billion. However, the company confirmed that it expects operating earnings per share of US$1.45-1.55 in 2016.