Investing.com — U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday erasing most of their losses from the previous day’s sell-off, amid a major rebound in oil prices and indications that the Federal Reserve could delay the pace of its first tightening cycle in nearly a decade.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 227.64 or 1.41% to 16,379.05, while the NASDAQ Composite index jumped 88.93 or 1.96% to 4,615.00, as both completed one of their strongest one-day moves in approximately six weeks. The S&P 500 Composite index, meanwhile, gained 31.56 or 1.67% to 1,921.84, to eclipse a key technical level. For the session, all 10 sectors closed in the green, as stocks in the Energy, Health Care and Technology sectors led, each gaining more than 2%.
At one point on Thursday, U.S. crude soared as much as 3%, bouncing from near 12-year lows from early this week when it slipped below $30 a barrel. As a result, shares in Chevron Corporation (N:CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (N:XOM) surged more than 5%, providing a boost to both the Dow and S&P 500. Investors also digested dovish comments from St. Louis Fed president James Bullard on how a drop in inflation expectations could impact a potential rate hike during the first quarter. At a speech on the economy and monetary policy in Memphis, Bullard also cited persistent weakness in China and the global economy for factors on why an imminent rate hike could be tough to justify.
Shares in JP Morgan Chase & Co (N:JPM) rose 1.48% to 58.19, after one of the world’s largest banks topped analysts’ earnings and revenue forecasts with its fourth quarter results. JP Morgan Chase (N:JPM) reported revenue of $23.7 billion on per share earnings of 1.32, above estimates of $22.86 billion in revenue and earnings per share of 1.26. JP Morgan credited strong cost-cutting measures, a lower capital drag and an expansion in its loan loss reserves for the profitable quarter. The performance provided a boost to the Financial sector, ahead of quarterly earnings from Citigroup Inc (N:C) and Wells Fargo & Company (N:WFC) on Friday.
Chevron finished as the top performer on the Dow, adding 4.14 or 5.09% to 85.47. Shares in the oil giant are still down more than 23% over the last year. The worst performer was Home Depot Inc (N:HD), which fell 1.78 or 1.47% to 119.62. Home Depot (N:HD) closed as the Dow’s laggard for the second straight day.
The biggest gainer on the NASDAQ was Illumina Inc (O:ILMN), which jumped 10.62 or 6.46% to 175.11. Illumina (O:ILMN) finished just above Amgen Inc (O:AMGN), which added 7.70 or 5.29% to 153.16. Earlier this week, at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, Amgen (O:AMGN) presented its anti-cholesterol drug Repatha, which was approved last year to treat a rare genetic disease in cardiovascular patients with high LDL cholesterol levels.The worst performer was Express Scripts Holding Co (O:ESRX), which fell more than 2.7% to 77.51, after reports surfaced that Anthem Inc (N:ANTM) could be looking to save up to $3 billion in its deal with the St. Louis based pharmacy benefit manager through a repricing provision in their contract.
The top performer on the S&P was Williams Companies Inc (N:WMB), which soared 4.27 or 31.37% to 17.88, amid the rally in crude futures. Shares in the Williams Companies (N:WMB) are still down more than 50% over the last year. The worst performer was Best Buy Co Inc (N:BBY), which fell 2.71 or 9.26% to 26.55 after the electronics retailer lowered its fourth quarter outlook amid weak holiday sales.
On the New York Stock Exchange, advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by a 2,068-998 margin.
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