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Overnight Markets: Wall Street rallies, along with oil prices

Data indicated weakness in manufacturing may be easing while crude oil showed further signs of stabilising.

 
Overnight Markets: Wall Street rallies, along with oil prices

Wall Street posted solid gains on Thursday amid optimism on the economy after data indicated weakness in manufacturing may be easing while crude oil showed further signs of stabilising.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 1.29% to end at 16,697 points and the S&P 500 rallied 1.13% to 1,952, its highest close since early January. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.87% to 4,582.

Economic data showed orders for US durable goods rose more than expected in January as demand picked up across the board, offering a ray of hope for the downtrodden manufacturing sector.

Lenders resumed their role as rally leaders, with Bank of America Corp. up 1.6%.

Energy producers erased declines as crude oil wiped out losses. United Technologies Corp. stretched its increase this week to 11% amid talk of a possible merger with Honeywell International Inc.

Shares of Salesforce.com Inc surged 11.03%. The online customer management software maker reported higher-than-expected revenue and raised its full-year forecast. The stock gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500.

Gun maker Sturm Ruger & Co jumped 7.8% after reporting quarterly results that handily beat Wall Street's expectations. Tech leader Microsoft rose 1.44%, fuelling much of the Nasdaq's gains.

After the bell, food company Kraft Heinz Co added 3% following its fourth-quarter report. Weight Watchers International Inc shed 19% after posting a steep drop in fourth-quarter net revenue.

In Asia, shares traded higher on Friday in morning trade, with Japan extending gains from its previous session and China retracing some losses from Thursday.

Chinese markets opened in positive territory, with the Shanghai composite gaining 1.07%. In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 was up 1.44% in morning trade.

Across the Korean Straight, the Kospi was up 0.27%. Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 was flat, with the materials sector down 0.75%.

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