Dow jumps more than 400 points as US stocks surge

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks surged Thursday for the second day in a row following Wednesday's Federal Reserve meeting as investors brushed aside concerns over another drop in oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 421.28 points (2.43 per cent) to 17,778.15.

The broad-based S&P 500 shot up 48.34 (2.40 per cent) to 2,061.23, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 104.08 (2.24 per cent) at 4,748.40.

Thursday's gains marked the second day in a row the S&P 500 has risen more than 2 per cent.

Such a two-day streak has not happened since 2002.

"I guess the overriding thing is that the market was very happy with the Fed announcement yesterday," said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial.

The US central bank left in place market expectations that it may raise interest rates only in the middle of 2015 and not sooner.

Low said investors were likely also pleased by Fed chair Janet Yellen's reassurances that sharply lower oil prices are a net-positive for the economy and that economic fallout from struggling Russia is likely to be limited.

US oil prices tumbled more than US$2 a barrel following a volatile session. The big drop in oil prices has rattled equity markets for much of December, but investors cast aside those anxieties Thursday.