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Overnight Markets: Wall Street gains after commodities climb

Rebound in oil prices boosted sentiment heading into the Christmas holiday.

 
Overnight Markets: Wall Street gains after commodities climb

Wall Street closed higher for the third consecutive session on Wednesday propelled by sharp gains in energy stocks as a rebound in oil prices boosted sentiment heading into the Christmas holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 185 points, or 1.1%, to 17,603, marking a ninth straight day of triple-digit moves and the 15th this month for the blue-chip index. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite added 45 points, or 0.9%, to 5,046. The S&P 500 gained 1.24%, or 25 points, to 2,064.

Crude prices climbed after US inventories fell but still hovered near multi-year lows as oversupply concerns persisted. Chevron rose 3.92% and Exxon shares added 3.27%, providing the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

Freeport-McMoRan jumped 16% following gains in copper prices. That contributed to a 2.36% gain in the materials index, which was also helped by a report that China is set to cut its steel surplus that has kept prices at decade lows.

Economic data indicated the outlook for the economy remained encouraging, with consumer sentiment at a five-month high in December and personal income rising for the eighth straight month in November.

In corporate news, Celgene rallied 9.83% after the drugmaker said it settled a patent litigation over its top-selling cancer drug, Revlimid. Nike reversed early gains and lost 2.38%. The world's largest sportswear maker reported strong results.

Micron shares dropped 2.22% after the memory chip maker forecast a surprise loss for the second quarter. Bed Bath & Beyond fell 4.58% after the home furnishings retailer cut its third-quarter profit forecast.

In Asia, equities turned mixed on Thursday in morning trade, dragged by a sell-off on the mainland, but energy stocks still outperformed amid a recovery in oil prices.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.6% as of 11:03 am in Tokyo. China's benchmark Shanghai Composite fell 1.4%, extending losses after snapping a two-day rally on Wednesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.6% with oil producers Petrochina, Sinopec and CNOOC leading gains.

Japan's Nikkei index erased gains to dip 0.1% in the morning session. Australia's benchmark S&P ASX 200 index added 1.3%.

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