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Overnight Markets: Energy and bank shares lift Wall Street

The energy sector jumped after crude prices hovered in and out of negative territory through the day but ended higher.

Overnight Markets: Energy and bank shares lift Wall Street

Wall Street extended rally for a second day on Wednesday, led by Energy and bank stocks, after strong jobs data dispelled concerns over the health of the US economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34 points, or 0.2%, to 16,899, the S&P 500 gained eight points, or 0.41%, to 1,986 and the Nasdaq Composite added 14 points, or 0.29%, to 4,703.

The improvement in US economic data, including manufacturing, construction spending and auto sales earlier this week, rekindled expectations that the Federal Reserve could raise rates at least once later this year, giving a boost to bank shares.

Data showing continued strength in the labour market also attracted attention. Private payrolls in the US rose by 214,000 in February, according to payroll processor Automatic Data Processing Inc. and forecasting firm Moody’s Analytics.

Bank of America Corp. increased 2.1% to a one-month high, on top of a 5.4% gain on Tuesday.

The energy sector jumped 2.5% after crude prices hovered in and out of negative territory through the day but ended higher. The largest percentage gainer on the S&P 500 was Chesapeake Energy (CHK.N), which rose 23.2%. Exxon Mobil Co. added 1.8%.

The materials sector was the worst performer on the S&P 500, weighed by a 7.8% drop in Monsanto shares (MON.N) after the agricultural products maker cut its earnings guidance.

In corporate news, Abercrombie & Fitch reported its first same-store sales gain in over three years as its quarterly profit soared 33%. Shares rose 4.4%.

In Asia, shares rose to an eight-week high on Thursday in morning session, buoyed by improving US economic data and prospects for further stimulus in China.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.2% as of 11:06 a.m. Tokyo time. Japan’s Topix climbed 1.2%, as a gauge of banking stocks surged 5.9%. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index rallied 2%.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index was down 0.99%, while Australia’s ASX All Ordinaries Index added 0.77%.

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