U.S. stocks soared Thursday, continuing the previous session’s gains, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied by as much as 267 points in early trading after crude oil prices gained. Earlier, financial markets in Asia and Europe rallied Thursday following the Federal Reserve’s pledge on Wednesday to stay “patient” on hiking interest rates, hinting the U.S. central bank could begin raising rates sometime next year.
In morning trading, the Dow soared 251.09 points, or 1.45 percent, at 17,607.96; the S&P 500 Index gained 33.34 points, or 1.66 percent, at 2,046.25. The Nasdaq Composite added 80.05 points, or 1.72 percent, to 4,723.91.
Global oil prices rebounded from previous five-year lows earlier this week after more energy firms slashed investments in new production. Marathon Oil Corporation announced Thursday that it anticipates its 2015 capital, investment and exploration budget will be $4.3 billion to $4.5 billion, or nearly 20 percent lower than 2014 levels.
U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude edged up 0.66 percent Thursday to $56.84 per barrel, for Jan. 15 delivery, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Meanwhile, global benchmark Brent crude rose 1.11 percent Thursday to $61.86 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
The recent fall in oil prices may boost other commodity prices, such as industrial and precious metals. “Crucially, the slump in oil prices is largely due to supply-side developments specific to the oil industry, rather than indicative of generalized weakness in demand,” Capital Economics said in a research note Wednesday.
Separately, data Thursday showed fewer Americans filed for jobless benefits last week. Initial jobless claims for state benefits fell by 6,000 to 289,000, the lowest since early November, the Labor Department said.