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US: Wall St rallies;, S&P 500 snaps 5-day losing streak


[NEW YORK] US stocks rallied on Friday, snapping a five-day losing streak in the S&P 500, as financial, commodity-related and other beaten-down shares rebounded.

US oil prices settled 12.3 per cent higher, boosting energy shares 2.6 per cent. The materials sector jumped 2.9 per cent.

Investors also snapped up battered shares of financials. US-listed shares of Deutsche Bank were up 12 per cent at $17.38, while the S&P financial index rallied 4 per cent, its largest daily per centage gain since November 2011.

"Europe was strong and especially the banks in Europe, and that appeared to have some positive carryover effect on sentiment towards banking and other financial stocks here in the US," said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston, which has about US$220 billion in assets under management.

Also helping boost sentiment, he said, was that US consumer spending regained some strength in January.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 313.66 points, or 2 per cent, to 15,973.84, the S&P 500 had gained 35.7 points, or 1.95 per cent, to 1,864.78 and the Nasdaq Composite had added 70.68 points, or 1.66 per cent, to 4,337.51.

This week's selloff saw the S&P 500 touch a two-year low on Thursday, and all three indexes still posted losses for the week: the Dow fell 1.4 per cent, the S&P 500 lost 0.8 per cent and the Nasdaq dropped 0.6 per cent.

But the S&P 500 closed at its high for the session ahead of the three-day US holiday weekend. Such late-day buying suggests investors may be starting to warm up to stocks again.

Concerns over global and US growth have dragged down shares in 2016. The S&P 500 remains down 8.8 per cent since Dec 31.

"It may be that the market was a little bit oversold, a little bit too much pessimism, so bargain hunters came in to buy some shares," Mr Carey said. "It's too early to say whether this is the beginning of a more sustained recovery, but it's encouraging and it shows there is still interest in stocks despite the rocky times we've experienced so far this calendar year."

Aiding financials, shares of JPMorgan jumped 8.3 per cent to US$57.49 after CEO Jamie Dimon bought more than US$25 million of the bank's stock.

Financials have been the weakest-performing sector this year. Recession fears have compounded concern about their exposure to the energy sector and expectations that global interest rates are unlikely to rise quickly.

Wynn Resorts rose 15.8 per cent to US$69.14 after the casino operator reported strong quarterly profit.

Volume was lighter than in recent sessions. About 8.7 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, below the 9.7 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,457 to 628, for a 3.91-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 2,131 issues rose and 670 fell for a 3.18-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 5 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 9 new highs and 127 new lows.