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Overnight Markets: Robust oil rally lifts Wall Street

US crude prices settled up more than 6% amid speculation that a production freeze by some OPEC members and Russia could eventually help to abate the surplus.

Overnight Markets: Robust oil rally lifts Wall Street

US stocks surged on Monday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closing at a six-week high, helped by a robust rally in oil prices that lifted recently crushed energy stocks.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 1.39% to end at 16,621 points. The S&P 500 gained 1.45% to 1,946 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.47% to 4,571.

The S&P energy sector added 2.23%, boosted by Chevron's (CVX.N) 2.68% increase. Shares of oilfield services provider Schlumberger closed up 2.06%.

US crude prices settled up more than 6% but still remained around decade lows, while prices of industrial metals such as copper and zinc rose as investors worried about potential shortages. Oil rose amid speculation that a production freeze by some OPEC members and Russia could eventually help to abate the surplus.

The materials sector rose 1.87%. Alcoa (AA.N) and Freeport-McMoRan (FCX.N) were the biggest influences, both surging over 13%.

After the bell, Fitbit (FIT.N) plunged 15% after the fitness tracker maker's first-quarter profit forecast badly missed analysts' expectations.

UnitedHealth (UNH.N), Anthem (ANTM.N), Humana (HUM.N), Aetna (AET.N) and other insurers gained after the US government proposed raising payments to health insurers who offer Medicare Advantage health benefits to elderly and disabled Americans. UnitedHealth was up 3.05%, providing a major boost to the Dow.

Shares of Aerospace component suppliers Honeywell International Inc (HON.N) fell 1.95% and United Technologies Corp (UTX.N), a Dow component, rallied 4.69% after it was reported the two have held merger talks.

In the financial sector, Wells Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp. increased at least 2.2%.

In Asia, shares rose on Tuesday in morning session, following US equities, as gains in oil buoyed energy companies and Japanese shares climbed after the yen weakened.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average 225 gained 0.10% as of 12.13 p.m. in Tokyo. Down under, ASX All Ordinaries Index fell 0.18%, South Korea’s Kospi Index declined 0.28% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.35%.

In China, Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.55%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.16%.

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