Stocks gain on late U.S. rally, oil recovers

Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:49pm EST
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets were little changed on Thursday after a late surge on Wall Street overcame earlier declines on worries about Greece's path and a mixed earnings season so far, while U.S. government bond yields rose on fresh signs of a strong American labor market.

Major Wall Street indexes surged almost 1 percent or more as Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) and Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) extended gains following their strong earnings reports earlier this week. (AMZN.O: Quote) and Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote) reported earnings after the bell, with Amazon shares gaining as much as 8.5 percent, but Google fell almost 5 percent.

Buying picked up during regular hours once the benchmark S&P 500 held above 2,000, a psychologically important level.

"There's so much uncertainly about where the market is going to be two weeks from now," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. He said that traders fear a declining market but also don't want to miss out on potentially dramatic upswings.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 225.48 points, or 1.31 percent, to 17,416.85. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 19.09 points, or 0.95 percent, to 2,021.25, and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 45.41 points, or 0.98 percent, to 4,683.41.

Earlier, weak results hit European shares, with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote) weighing on the market after it missed earnings expectations. The oil major, which closed down 4.3 percent, said it would cut spending by $15 billion over three years due to slumping crude prices.

German bond yields initially fell as worries over Greece's new anti-bailout government buoyed demand for top-rated assets, but the yield on U.S. Treasuries rose after surprisingly strong weekly data on American jobless claims bolstered optimism.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid