US stocks jump 2.4 per cent, joining global rally

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks jumped about 2.4 per cent on Friday, joining a global rally after surprise stimulus by the Bank of Japan raised confidence of further central bank moves to boost growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 396.66 points (2.47 per cent) at 16,466.30.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 46.88 (2.48 per cent) to 1,940.24, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 107.28 (2.38 per cent) to 4,613.95.

The Bank of Japan adopted a below-zero interest rate policy, essentially charging lenders to park their cash with it.

The move helped spur stocks higher in Europe and Asia.

Stocks picked up further momentum following official US government data showing the US economy grew an anemic 0.7 per cent in the fourth quarter. Analysts said the weak growth reduced the chances the Federal Reserve will move quickly to hike interest again.

"This basically sets the tone that central banks are going to have to boost the economy," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.

Stocks were also bolstered by oil prices, which rose for the fourth day in a row. The gain lifted petroleum-linked stocks, including Marathon Oil and Halliburton, which jumped 6.1 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively.