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Overnight Markets: US stocks close higher as oil steadies

Some stabilisation in oil prices helped reduce investors' fears about banks' vulnerability to energy companies struggling to pay their debts.

 
Overnight Markets: US stocks close higher as oil steadies

Wall Street closed higher on Wednesday after a late-session rally as some stabilisation in oil prices helped reduce investors' fears about banks' vulnerability to energy companies struggling to pay their debts.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.32% to end at 16,485 points and the S&P 500 gained 0.44% to 1,930. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.87% to 4,543.

The S&P energy sector gained 0.9%, trimming its loss in 2016 to 27% after US crude futures settled nearly 1% higher.

The S&P financial sector, already the worst performing sector this year, fell 0.2%, with shares of Wells Fargo (WFC.N) down 1.02%.

JPMorgan (JPM.N) ended flat after it flagged declining investment banking revenue and raised its provisions for energy loan losses.

Facebook (FB.O) rose 1.34% and Apple (AAPL.O) added 1.49%. Concerns about slowing iPhone sales had pushed Apple's stock down 19% in the past three months.

After the bell, Salesforce.com (CRM.N) surged 6% after its fourth-quarter results reduced fears of a slowdown in software spending.

During the session, Target Corp (TGT.N) climbed 3.99% after its quarterly sales showed the store's turnaround efforts were gaining traction.

Ford (F.N) declined 2.74% and General Motors (GM.N) lost 1.84% after Credit Suisse said it was a "poor time" to own auto stocks.

In Asia, shares traded mixed on Thursday in late morning trade following Wall Street's reversal of sharp intraday losses overnight on the back of higher oil prices.

China's Shanghai composite was lower by 1.22%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.65%, while the Japanese benchmark Nikkei 225 index was up about 0.5%. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi gained 0.41%.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200, which saw gains of 0.37% early on, lost support and traded down 0.1%.

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