Global stocks, oil rally; cold snap supports energy demand

Fri Jan 22, 2016 4:51pm EST
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices and world stock markets jumped on Friday, providing some relief to bruised investors as frigid weather across the United States and Europe boosted energy demand.

Brent crude oil, which tumbled in recent weeks on worries about oversupply, settled 10 percent higher and above $32 a barrel in one of the biggest daily rallies ever. Traders cashing in short positions lifted prices along with the higher short-term demand.

The benchmark S&P 500 U.S. equity index rallied 2 percent and registered its first positive week of 2016 thanks to the bounce in oil. Energy led the day's gains, with Exxon Mobil (XOM.N: Quote) ending up 3.3 percent and the S&P energy index .SPNY rising 4.3 percent.

"I don't think anyone really believes we've seen the bottom," said Warren West, principal at Greentree Brokerage Services in Philadelphia. "It's a nice bounce, but it's still trading in the range of those August lows and you can't really call it a rally."

After dropping earlier this week to 2014 lows, the S&P 500 has recovered in the past two sessions to end the week 1.4 percent higher. It is still down 6.7 percent in 2016 after the brutal selloff that began at the start of the year.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rallied 1.33 percent to finish the session at 16,093.51 while the S&P 500 .SPX surged 2.03 percent to 1,906.9. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC jumped 2.66 percent to 4,591.18.

Apple (AAPL.O: Quote) rose 5.32 percent to $101.42 and gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Despite widespread concerns about potentially weak iPhone demand, Piper Jaffray recommended buying Apple's shares heading into its quarterly results next week.

The MSCI All Country World Index .MIWD00000PUS rose 2.7 percent, while Europe's pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 closed 3-percent higher.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid