Wall Street drifts higher as tech, energy gain | Reuters

Wall Street was higher after swinging between gains and losses on Thursday as a fall in healthcare stocks capped gains in technology and energy shares.

The S&P health sector .SPXHC was the biggest loser, while the Nasdaq biotech .NBI index was on track for its biggest monthly fall in 16 years with a 3 percent fall.

Abbott Labs (ABT.N) was the biggest drag on the healthcare sector, with an 8.8 percent drop.

However, the energy sector was buoyed by the rise in crude oil, which held steady near $34 a barrel, gaining nearly 3 percent. Oil had risen as much as 6 percent earlier on speculation that Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries would cut output to boost prices. [O/R]

"Oil's been firmly in control of the market," said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

"I think what oil has become is a proxy for 'are we going into a recession?'," she said.

At 12:59 p.m. ET (1759 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 67.9 points, or 0.43 percent, at 16,012.36, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 10.65 points, or 0.57 percent, at 1,893.6 and the Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC was up 38.52 points, or 0.86 percent, at 4,506.69.

Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, with energy .SPNY and tech .SPLRCT sectors gaining the most.

Facebook (FB.O) surged 12.2 percent to $106.23 after the world's biggest social network reported a 52 percent jump in revenue.

Amazon (AMZN.O), which reports after the bell, was up 5.5 percent at $615.28.

The two stocks gave the biggest boost to the Nasdaq.

PayPal (PYPL.O), which was spun-off from eBay last year, was up 7.3 percent at $33.90 and Under Armour (UA.N) was up 18.4 percent at $81.26 after revenue at both companies beat estimates.

Among the losers, EBay (EBAY.O) sank 13.5 percent to $22.86 after it forecast weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,067 to 926. On the Nasdaq, 1,538 issues rose and 1,143 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed seven new 52-week highs and 21 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 12 new highs and 134 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.

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Updated Date: Jan 29, 2016 00:00:15 IST

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