By Medha Singh and Uday Sampath Kumar
April 2 (Reuters) - Wall Street bounced on Thursday as hints of a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia drove a record 30% surge in oil prices, outweighing the shock of a jump in U.S. jobless claims past 6 million.
The S&P energy index .SPNY, down by half this year, gained 12%, with double-digit gains for majors Exxon Mobil Corp XOM.N and Chevron Corp CVX.N helping drive a more than 1% rise for both the S&P 500 .SPX and the Dow. .DJI
U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Russia's Vladimir Putin and the Saudi Crown Prince to announce an output cut of 10 million to 15 million barrels per day, putting Brent on track for its biggest one-day gain on record. O/R
Apache Corp APA.N, Diamondback Energy Inc FANG.O and Helmerich Payne HP.N all gained between 18% and 22% as minds for a moment moved away from the economic damage being wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
"The surge in crude is helping the mood, so we're seeing some relief in markets that have been hammered," said Richard Steinberg, chief market strategist at Colony Group, in Florida.
The first quarter of 2020 was among U.S. stock markets' worst in history, and analysts predict further declines as shutdowns to combat the COVID-19 outbreak drive more corporate budget cuts.
Boeing Co BA.N, a symbol of America's industrial might, said on Thursday it would offer buyout and early retirement packages to employees, as a near collapse in business activity crushes liquidity and sparks mass staff furloughs.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits last week exceeded the top end of analysts' estimates at 5.25 million as more states enforce sweeping stay-at-home orders to curtail the coronavirus pandemic.
"The U.S. labor market has never experienced such a disruption," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial.
"Most will likely say the United States is sitting squarely in a recession right now, but the real question at hand is for how long and to what extent."
At 10:54 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 284.00 points, or 1.36%, at 21,227.51, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 33.21 points, or 1.34%, at 2,503.71. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 66.19 points, or 0.90%, at 7,426.77.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc WBA.O fell 6% after the drugstore retailer reported a steep decline in U.S same-store sales in the last week of March. L4N2BQ32Z
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners more than 2-to-1 on the NYSE and on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded no new 52-week high and seven new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded two new highs and 53 new lows.
(Reporting by Medha Singh and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sagarika Jaisinghani and Arun Koyyur)
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