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Wall Street rally boosted by higher oil prices | Reuters

Wall Street rallied on Friday as steadying oil drove energy shares, putting the three major indexes on track for their fourth straight weekly gains for the first time in more than four months.

U.S. crude pared some of their gains, but were up more than 2 percent after the International Energy Agency said oil prices might have bottomed as output in the United States and other non-OPEC countries was beginning to fall quickly.

Investors took a positive view of European Central Bank's new stimulus package unveiled on Thursday, despite ECB President Mario Draghi signalling an end to further rate cuts.

"There's an incredible rebound because the chatter on easing became extremely positive after the market closed yesterday and all the global markets are rallying on that," said Phil Davis, chief executive of PSW Investments.

At 12:35 p.m. ET (1535 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 212.5 points, or 1.25 percent, at 17,207.63.

The S&P 500 .SPX was up 28.45 points, or 1.43 percent, at 2,018.02. The 2,000 mark is considered a key psychological barrier for the index.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 66.03 points, or 1.42 percent, at 4,728.19.

All 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 2.42 percent rise in energy .SPNY. Anadarko (APC.N) jumped 10.3 percent to $46.87, after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to "buy," and gave the biggest boost to the sector.

Microsoft's (MSFT.O) 1.5 percent rise was the biggest positive influence on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, while IBM (IBM.N) rose 1.8 percent and propped up the Dow.

The S&P 500 is down 1.3 percent for the year, staging a sharp recovery from a steep selloff at the start of the year that was partly driven by a rout in oil.

Investors now turn their attention to the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is set to meet on March 15-16 to decide on interest rates.

The Fed has said it is on track to raise rates gradually this year, but its decision will hinge on the health of the economy. Recent data has shown the U.S. labour market remains strong, but wage growth remains a concern.

Ulta Salon (ULTA.O) jumped 16.1 percent to $189.85 after the beauty product retailer's quarterly sales beat estimates.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY.O) was up 6.3 percent at $61.75 after JP Morgan raised its rating on the stock to "overweight".

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,567 to 430. On the Nasdaq, 2,109 issues rose and 605 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 37 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 58 new highs and 55 new lows.

(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Published Date: Mar 12, 2016 00:15 AM | Updated Date: Mar 12, 2016 00:15 AM

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