Wall St, oil prices move higher overnight

Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange. Photo / AP
Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange. Photo / AP

Wall Street moved higher with oil prices and better-than-expected US corporate earnings including from Facebook.

Oil prices rose amid fresh reports about efforts to lower the global glut between the world's top producers. To be sure, OPEC poured cold water on an Interfax report that it had scheduled a meeting with Russia to discuss a coordination in output cuts.

"It's possible that Russia could be testing the waters to gauge how OPEC members would respond to the idea of cuts," Jason Bordoff, director of the Centre on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a former senior oil official at the White House, told Bloomberg.

Oil last traded above US$33 a barrel, having pared some of its earlier gains.

"Oil's been firmly in control of the market," Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh, told Reuters. "I think what oil has become is a proxy for 'are we going into a recession?'"

Wall Street gained. In 12.55pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.4 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.9 per cent. In 12.40pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.7 per cent.

Rallies in shares of Caterpillar and those of Chevron Corp, last up 3.7 per cent and 3 per cent respectively, led the Dow higher. Bucking the trend were slides in shares of American Express and those of Merck, down 3.7 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively.

Shares of Facebook soared, last up 15.9 per cent, after the company posted results that surpassed expectations.

Also pleasing investors with their latest earnings were PayPal and Under Armour, last up 7.6 per cent and 19.9 per cent respectively.

Shares of Amazon, which is set to report after the market close, last traded 6.8 per cent higher.

A day after the Federal Reserve said it expects to raise interest rates gradually, a report showed orders for all durable goods sank 5.1 per cent in December, the largest drop since August 2014.

"US companies are cutting investment sharply, and the key worry is that it seems to be spreading beyond the oil sector and in the meantime consumers are missing in action, not able to offset the huge drag from the energy sector," Thomas Costerg, a US economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York, told Reuters.

A report on Friday is expected to show that fourth-quarter gross domestic product rose at a 0.8 percent annual rate, down from a 2 per cent pace in the third quarter.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the day with a 1.6 per cent drop from the previous close, amid disappointing corporate earnings including from Roche. The UK's FTSE 100 Index declined 1 per cent, France's CAC 40 Index fell 1.3 per cent, while Germany's DAX Index slid 2.5 per cent.

"Risk appetite is still very fragile," William Hobbs, head of investment strategy at Barclays' wealth-management unit in London, told Bloomberg. "Right now, its a matter of guilty till proven innocent in terms of whether or not the world is on the cusp of the next economic downturn. And the latest European earnings have been mixed."

Meanwhile, a report consumer prices in Germany dropped in January, sliding 0.9 per cent from December. That's the largest fall in a year.

- BusinessDesk

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