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US stocks gain as energy sector extends rebound

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks opened higher as the energy sector continued to rebound along with the price of oil. Oracle surged after reporting strong earnings.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 25 points, or 1.3 percent, to 2,038 as of 9:47 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 222 points, or 1.3 percent, to 17,579. The Nasdaq composite rose 61 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,706.

FED SPARK: Stocks are building on a rally that was driven by steadying oil prices and comments from the Federal Reserve Wednesday after its last policy meeting of the year.

Stocks surged 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.

Stocks were also bouncing back from a slump caused by plunging oil prices.

OIL STEADIES: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 66 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $57.13 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has plunged since June when it peaked at $107 a barrel. Overproduction and weak demand are behind the fall in global oil prices. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil, jumped $2.15, or 3.4 percent, to $62.21 a barrel.

EARNINGS BEAT: Oracle Corp. posted better-than-expected results late Wednesday in its first quarterly report since co-founder Larry Ellison gave up the helm of the business software maker. The company reported that its software and cloud revenue grew 5 percent. The stock rose $2.94, or 7.2 percent, to $44.15.

DUBAI STOCKS RISE: Gulf stocks gain after midweek drop with Dubai’s main index closing 13 percent higher.

EUROPE’S DAY: France’s CAC 40 jumped 3.3 percent and Germany’s DAX surged 2.5 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1.7 percent.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES. U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the benchmark 10-year government Treasury note, which rises as prices fall, climbed to 2.21 percent from 2.14 percent a day earlier.

In currency trading, the euro fell to $1.2314 from the previous day’s closing level of $1.2329. The dollar rose to 119.25 yen from 118.83 yen.