Wall Street closes strong; oil dips below $30

Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:26pm EST
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By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. and European stock investors bought beaten-down shares on Tuesday, at least temporarily looking past another steep drop in oil prices that briefly sent U.S. crude below $30 a barrel.

Major U.S. stock indexes finished strong in a volatile trading session. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index climbed 1.1 percent after four sessions of declines.

Volatile Chinese markets and the deepening oil slide have shaken sentiment in equities at the start of 2016. China stocks closed higher on Tuesday as the central bank tried to stabilize the yuan.

But oil prices slumped more than 2 percent, failing to sustain an initial rally and deepening a 1-1/2-year slide.

Tuesday's rally may indicate that equity investors are setting aside oil and China as the main factors driving share prices, said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago.

"As the focus becomes more on the upcoming earnings ... the focus turns away from China and oil, it allows investors to redeploy their assets into some equities that look reasonable," Kuby said.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 117.65 points, or 0.72 percent, to 16,516.22, the S&P 500 gained 15.01 points, or 0.78 percent, to 1,938.68 and the Nasdaq Composite added 47.93 points, or 1.03 percent, to 4,685.92.

Shares of Apple rose 1.5 percent after a broker upgrade, helping prop up Wall Street equities. After historically poor starts to the year for major U.S. indexes, investors were awaiting corporate earnings season to start in earnest later in the week, with large banks due to report.   Continued...

People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett