US stocks turn higher around midday on oil recovery

New York, March 8 (IANS) The US stocks pared early losses to trade higher around midday on Monday, as Wall Street cheered over the continued rebound in oil prices.

By noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 60.47 points, or 0.36 percent, to 17,067.24. The S&P 500 increased 1.99 points, or 0.10 percent, to 2,001.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index inched up 4.88 points, or 0.10 percent, to 4,721.90, Xinhua news agency reported.

Oil prices continued to rally Monday after last week’s solid gains, with Brent crude surging above $40 a barrel in the morning session, a 2016 high.

Meanwhile, with no major economic data due out Monday, investors were still digesting Friday’s jobs report. The US total non-farm payroll employment increased by 242,000 in February, well above market expectations, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the US Labour Department announced on Friday.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls declined 3 cents to $25.35, following an increase of 12 cents in January. Average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent year on year.

Analysts said the upbeat jobs data pointed to a modest recovery in the US economy, and created conditions for the Federal Reserve to gradually raise interest rates this year.

On Friday, the US stocks ended higher after volatile trading, with all three major indices on a four-day winning streak, as investors digested the upbeat jobs report into indications of the country’s economic conditions.

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