Energy, banking shares lead US stocks higher

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks gained on Wednesday (Oct 5) led by petroleum companies due to higher oil prices and large banks on expectations that the US Federal Reserve will soon hike interest rates.

Dow member Chevron rose 1 per cent and oil-services giant Schlumberger jumped 2.1 per cent as US oil prices advanced to near US$50 a barrel on a report showing lower US oil inventories.

Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo were among the large banks that surged two percent or more on growing expectations the Fed will lift interest rates in December. That impression was boosted by sharp rise in the ISM services sector purchasing managers index for September.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.6 per cent to 18,281.03.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent to 2,159.73, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index increased 0.5 per cent to 5,316.02.

Twitter jumped 5.7 per cent after the Wall Street Journal reported the social media company is expected to receive takeover bids this week. Possible suitors include Google, Disney and, which has publicly expressed interest in Twitter and which slumped 5.4 per cent.

BMO Capital predicted Salesforce would be forced to issue a "meaningful" amount of stock to finance a Twitter bid, said a note that was headlined, "Bad Idea."

Amazon rose 1.2 per cent following an announcement of a new program for "Prime" subscribers that allows them unlimited access to a rotating selection of books and magazines.

Monsanto added 1.6 per cent as it reported that sales for the quarter ending Aug 31 rose 8.8 per cent to US$2.5 billion (S$3.4 billion).

The agricultural giant expressed confidence it would win approval from antitrust regulators to be acquired by Bayer for US$66 billion, predicting the deal would close at the end of 2017.

Booz Allen Hamilton sank 3.8 per cent on news that the FBI arrested a former employee of the National Security Agency contractor for possible theft of top-secret codes. Booz Allen was also the firm that hired notorious leaker Edward Snowden.