US stocks surge, ending five-day skid

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks jumped on Friday as oil prices rebounded, snapping a five-day losing streak that had left the equity market looking oversold to some investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 190.86 points (1.10 per cent) to 17,511.57.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 26.75 (1.34 per cent) to 2,019.42, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index surged 63.56 (1.39 per cent) to 4,634.38.

Investors were reassured by a healthy 5.3 per cent rise in US oil prices as the International Energy Agency declared there were signs "the tide will turn" in the battered oil market following recent multi-year lows.

Mace Blicksilver, director of Marblehead Asset Management, said the market was due for a good day after a five-day slide that had left the S&P 500 below 2,000.

But Blicksilver said there has been "no trend change" and that investor anxiety remains elevated.

Dow component Goldman Sachs lost 0.7 per cent as fourth-quarter net income declined 7.1 per cent following a drop in trading revenues and underwriting. Earnings of US$4.38 per share came in six cents above analyst expectations.

But other banks rose after suffering deep losses earlier in the week on disappointing earnings. Dow member JPMorgan jumped 1.7 per cent, while Citigroup and Bank of America advanced by 0.8 per cent and 1.2 per cent, respectively.

Oil-services company Schlumberger bolted 6.1 per cent higher after it cut 9,000 jobs as it scaled back operations in response to lower investment from oil and gas exploration companies.

Dow component Chevron rose 2.4 per cent and Anadarko Petroleum gained 3.9 per cent.

Dow component Intel finished 0.7 per cent following a mixed earnings report. Profits for the fourth quarter of 74 cents per share bested expectations by eight cents, but the company's first-quarter revenue forecast was below that of some analysts.

The New York Stock Exchange suspended the shares of forex trading firm FXCM after they plunged nearly 90 per cent in pre-market trade after the firm said that the sharp rise in the Swiss franc had possibly left it capital-short.

After the market closed, Leucadia National Corp. announced that it would provide FXCM US$300 million (S$400 million) in cash to make up the shortfall.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury jumped to 1.83 per cent from 1.73 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.44 per cent from 2.37 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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