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Stocks soar more than 400 points

Stocks soared a day after the Federal Reserve's holiday gift to investors.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 421 points on Thursday, or 2.4 percent, to close at 17,778, its biggest one-day gain since December 2011. Over the last two trading sessions the blue-chip chip index has gained more than 700 points, the best two-day performance for the Dow.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 48 points, or 2.4 percent, to end at 2,061, and has now rallied by more than 4 percent since Wednesday. It had fallen roughly 5 percent in the previous two weeks. The Nasdaq composite index added 104 points to 4,078.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.21 percent.

Oracle (ORCL) led a rally in technology shares after the business software maker reported earnings that were better than expected.

Energy stocks lagged the market as the price of crude oil turned lower, erasing an early gain.

Stocks are building on a rally that was driven by steadying oil prices and comments from the Fed Wednesday after its last policy meeting of the year. Stocks spiked after the Fed said that while it was edging closer to raising interest rates from close to zero, it will be "patient" in deciding when to do so.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said she foresaw no rate hike in the first quarter of 2015.

Crude oil prices are at their lowest level in more than five years. OPEC says production won't be cut, and it will rely on the market to set the ...

Investors shrugged off a renewed decline in oil prices. After starting the day higher, benchmark U.S. crude resumed its slide by mid-morning. The price of U.S. benchmark oil slumped $2.36, or 4.2 percent, cents, to $54.11 after rising as high as $58.71 in morning trading. Oil has plunged since June, when it peaked at $107 a barrel.

Overproduction and weak demand are behind the fall in global oil prices, which some analysts attribute in part to a global economic slowdown. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.91 to close at $59.27 a barrel in London.

"The bottom line is that low oil is a net positive for the consumer," Karyn Cavanaugh, a senior market strategist at Voya Investment Management. "The consumer drives the U.S. economy, which drives the global economy, so that's good news."

Asian and European financial markets also continued to rise Thursday following the Fed's commitment to keep rates low.

"With a week to go to Christmas, Santa seems to have finally arrived for global equities," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, Australia. "It was always important for the Fed to get the language right so as not to spook markets at such a fragile time and it seems it has done just that."

Despite the bullish mood on Wall Street, some forecasters question whether some of the factors driving growth are sustainable.

"Greasing the U.S. economy with lower oil prices brings windfall income transfers and prospects of higher consumption," Citi Research analysts said in a note. "But oily gains may be slippery, even if they are prolonged. The size and duration of the expected consumption gains ultimately will depend on the specific profile of the price decline."

More details on: cbsnews.com


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