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US: Stocks soar on banks, tech shares


[NEW YORK] Banking and technology shares led a sharp rebound on Wall Street Tuesday, helped by another rise in oil prices and strong auto sales.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 348.58 points (2.11 per cent) at 16,865.08.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 46.12 points (2.39 per cent) at 1,978.35, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index soared 131.65 (2.89 per cent) to 4,689.60.

There was no one catalyst for the surge in buying, which took the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to their highest closes since January 6.

Oil prices rose again after Russia again raised the prospect of an output freeze by major producers; WTI crude climbed 65 cents to US$34.40 a barrel and Brent gained 24 cents at US$36.81 a barrel.

A barometer of the manufacturing sector, the ISM purchasing managers index for February, came in above expectations but showed the sector still marginally contracting.

US auto sales were much stronger than expected last month, showing US consumers still ready and able to spend on big-ticket items, with Ford, Honda and Fiat Chrysler the biggest winners last month.


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