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Stock indexes gain with oil as biotech shares rebound

World stock indexes edged higher yesterday with a rebound in biotech shares boosting US equities and as oil prices resumed an upward move in volatile trading.

US stocks rose modestly, but concern about corporate earnings just ahead of the third-quarter reporting season kept a lid on optimism. Reduced profit forecasts from Adobe and Yum Brands added to gloom about the earnings picture.

Oil prices struggled to extend their recent rally as US government data showed domestic crude inventories rose 3.1 million barrels last week, more than forecast.

The US dollar rose against the euro and the Swiss franc, while the yen gained against the dollar after the Bank of Japan left monetary policy unchanged. The dollar index was up 0.1 per cent.

Although the Bank of Japan held off on expanding stimulus yesterday, expectations of more support rather than less are growing as worries mount over a global economic slowdown. This week, the International Monetary Fund again cut its growth forecast.

The potential for more stimulus from the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan has contributed to a backdrop of accommodative central bank policy, along with expectations that a Federal Reserve rate increase will remain on hold until 2016.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 health care index was up 1.3 per cent, in the biggest boost to the S&P 500, while the Nasdaq Biotech index was up 1.9 per cent, after recent steep losses. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 69.95 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 16,860.14, the S&P 500 gained 10.06 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 1,989.98 and the Nasdaq Composite added 25.29 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 4,773.65. Shares of Adobe were down six per cent at $80.05.

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