Stocks Ended Sharply Higher, Energy Stocks Soared

U.S. stocks ended with solid gains on Thursday, as a rise in crude-oil prices pushed energy shares sharply higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 227.64 points, or 1.41%, to 16,379.05. The S&P 500 added 31.56 points, or 1.67%, to 1,921.84. The Nasdaq Composite was up 88.94 points, or 1.97%, to 4,615.00.

Oil futures rebounded Thursday, settling higher for a second straight session after dips below the key $30 level this week. February West Texas Intermediate crude tacked on 72 cents, or 2.4%, to settle at $31.20 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Thursday a continued decline in inflation expectations may change his outlook for further Fed rate hikes, though so far he feels the United States continues on a healthy track.

Intel Corp. said its gross margin for the fourth quarter declined to 64.3% from 65.4% in the year-ago quarter. The company forecast a gross margin of 58% for the first quarter, and an adjusted one of 62%. Intel reported fourth-quarter earnings of 74 cents a share on revenue of $14.9 billion.






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