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U.S. stocks surge in Santa Claus rally, amid rebound in crude futures

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Investing.com -- U.S. stocks surged on Wednesday extending sharp gains from earlier this week, amid a rebound in slumping oil prices and a Santa Claus rally on the second to last day of trading before the Christmas holiday.

Global crude futures soared by more than 3% on Wednesday, after an unexpected draw of 5.9 million barrels in U.S. commercial crude inventories last week. Any draws in crude stockpiles are viewed as bullish for oil, which has tumbled more than 30% this year as an excess of supply continues to greatly outpace demand. Extreme fluctuations in crude prices have weighed heavily on U.S. equities markets since the Federal Reserve ended a seven-year zero interest rate policy last week with its first interest rate hike in nearly a decade.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 185.20 or 1.06% to 17,602.47, while the S&P 500 Composite index added 25.32 or 1.24% to 2,064.29, each posting one of their strongest 3-day moves of the year. The NASDAQ Composite index also eclipsed the symbolic 5,000 level after gaining 44.82 or 0.90% to 5,045.93, on a bullish day for stocks.

On the S&P 500, all 10 sectors closed in the green, as stocks in the energy and basic material industries led. In total, seven sectors on Wednesday surged by more than 1%.

The top performer on the Dow was Chevron Corporation (N:CVX), which soared by 3.39 or 3.75% to 93.66. In spite of Wednesday's rally, Chevron stocks are still down by more than 20% over the last year. The worst performer was Nike Inc (N:NKE), which fell 3.11 or 2.36% to 128.74, after reversing territory earlier in the session. Nike shares rose considerably on Tuesday in after-hours, following a strong performance in the second quarter.

The biggest gainer on the NASDAQ was Celgene Corporation (O:CELG), which surged 10.90 or 9.81% to 122.04. The New Jersey-based biotech extended sharp gains from Tuesday, after it reached a settlement on a patent infringement lawsuit related to generic sales of Revlimid, its top-selling blood cancer drug. The worst performer was Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (O:BBBY), which plunged 2.33 or 4.53% to 49.00 after the home furnishing retailer unexpectedly cut its third quarter forecasts.

The top performer on the S&P 500 was Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc (N:FCX), which rallied 1.04 or 16.12% to 7.46. Shares in the prominent gold and copper mining company have slumped by nearly 75% this year, amid a prolonged downturn in global commodities. A number of under performing stocks, including Freeport McMoran rallied on Wednesday following the completion of tax-loss selling, which typically peaks in the final month of the year. Bed, Bath and Beyond was also the worst performer on the S&P 500, just below the CME Group (O:CME) which fell 3.68 or 3.89% to 91.01.

On the New York Stock Exchange, advancing issues outnumbered declining ones by a 2,674 to 439 margin.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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