Oil rally helps lift US stocks

NEW YORK (AFP) - A rally in petroleum-linked equities helped lift US stocks Wednesday following mixed earnings and economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 75.91 points (0.42 per cent) at 18,112.61.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 10.79 (0.51 per cent) to 2,106.63, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 33.73 (0.68 per cent) to 5,011.02.

Dow member ExxonMobil rose 1.7 per cent and Marathon Oil surged 4.4 per cent as US crude prices finished at a 2015 peak.

Bank of America fell 1.1 per cent after first-quarter earnings came in below expectations, while Dow member Intel jumped 4.3 per cent as first-quarter net income rose 3 per cent to US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) despite weakness in its personal computer-related business.

Most regions of the US economy expanded in recent weeks, although oil industry layoffs have grown, the Federal Reserve said in a report.

Separately, the Fed said US industrial output fell 0.6 per cent in March.

Google finished 0.4 per cent higher as it vowed to fight charges from European Union antitrust regulators that it has abused its search engine dominance to favour its own products.

Delta Air Lines rose 2.6 per cent after first-quarter earnings came in at more than three times the year-ago level at US$746 million. The airline said it would cut its international capacity due to the strong dollar.

Biotech companies rose, including Celgene (+2.1 per cent) and Amgen and Gilead Sciences (both +1.7 per cent). Other Nasdaq stocks that gained were Microsoft (+1.5 per cent) and Cisco Systems (+1.6 per cent).

Bond prices were mixed. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 1.89 per cent from 1.90 per cent Tuesday, while the 30-year rose to 2.55 per cent from 2.54 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.