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US: Wall St rises as oil prices recover

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[NEW YORK] US stocks were higher on Monday as oil prices bounced back from multi-week lows and investors expected the Federal Reserve to leave interest rates unchanged at its meeting this week.

Oil prices rose about 1 per cent after Venezuela said OPEC and non-OPEC producers were close to a deal to stabilize an oversupplied market.

The S&P 500 energy index rose 0.69 per cent, recouping some losses after hitting a six-week low last Wednesday.

The Fed's two-day meeting starts on Tuesday in which policymakers will debate over the US economy and its ability to absorb a rate hike. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to conclude the meeting with a press conference at 2:00 pm ET (1800 GMT) on Wednesday.

Ms Yellen said last month the case for a rate increase had strengthened. But recent lackluster data, including a slowdown in jobs growth, has raised doubts about the health of the economy.

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"The market is resigned to the fact that the Fed won't move in September," said Matt Jones, head of US equity strategy at JP Morgan Private Bank in New York. "But some uneasiness with the Fed will be on how they talk about December."

The probability of a December move shot up to 70 per cent in the past month from 57.5 per cent in the previous month, according to a Reuters poll of over 100 economists.

The CME Group's FedWatch tool shows traders setting a 12 per cent chance of a rate hike by Wednesday, while the odds jumped to nearly 55 per cent for December.

The dollar index declined 0.38 per cent, sending gold prices higher, on dim prospects of a rate increase this week.

Investors will also keep an eye on the Bank of Japan's policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, where it is largely expected to not announce further policy easing.

At 9:38 am ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 90.87 points, or 0.5 per cent, at 18,214.54, the S&P 500 was up 9.52 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 2,148.68 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 22.58 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 5,267.15.

Eight of the 11 major S&P 500 indexes were higher, with the materials sector rising the most by 0.72 per cent. The S&P real estate index debuted on Monday with a 0.44 per cent rise.

Shares of casino operator Isle of Capri jumped 28.5 per cent on Monday after Eldorado Resorts said it would buy the company for US$1.7 billion, including debt. Eldorado's stock dropped 22.7 per cent.

General Motors was the top per centage gainer on the S&P 500, up 2.52 per cent at US$31.76, after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight".

US electrical components distributor Avnet was up 7.2 per cent at $42.11 after it announced the sale of its IT business to tech products distributor Tech Data Corp for about US$2.6 billion. Tech Data's stock soared 17.2 per cent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,271 to 418. On the Nasdaq, 1,698 issues rose and 659 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed five new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and seven new lows.


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