US stocks keep rising amid data, oil recovery

New York, Dec 24 (IANS) US stocks rallied for a third straight session as investors digested a batch of economic reports amid a strong rebound in oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 185.34 points, or 1.06 percent, to 17,602.61 on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

The S&P 500 added 25.32 points, or 1.24 percent, to 2,064.29. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 44.82 points, or 0.90 percent, to 5,045.93.

The US Commerce Department said on Wednesday that new orders for manufactured durable goods in November increased $100 million, or virtually unchanged to $238.8 billion.

In a separate report, the department said that US personal income increased $44.4 billion, or 0.3 percent, and personal consumption expenditures rose $40.1 billion, or 0.3 percent, in November.

Meanwhile, US sales of new single-family houses in November came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 490,000, 4.3 percent above the revised October rate and 9.1 percent above the November 2014 estimate.

“New home sales have been bobbing around the 500k level since hitting a post-recession high in February of this year. Construction has been slower to recover than anticipated, creating tight supply and contributing to rising home prices,” said Sophia Kearney-Lederman, an economic analyst at FTN Financial.

Oil prices surged on Wednesday after an unexpected fall in US inventories, with both the US oil and Brent crude jumping nearly 4 percent.

In response, the energy sector soared 4.24 percent as the biggest advancer in the S&P 500’s ten sectors.

Trading volumes are expected to be relatively light this week, as the US stock markets operate a shortened session on Thursday and close on Friday for Christmas.

The CBOE Volatility Index, often referred to as Wall Street’s fear gauge, decreased 6.20 percent to end at 15.57 on Wednesday.

In other markets, the US dollar fluctuated against most major currencies amid thin trading in holiday season.

Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell as positive economic data gave strength to the US dollar.

The most active gold contract for February delivery fell $5.8, or 0.54 percent, to settle at $1,068.30 per ounce.

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