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STOCKS SNAP THREE-DAY SLIDE

Bloomberg News

NEW YORK - Stocks rose Wednesday, snapping a three-day drop, as the Federal Reserve signaled continued low interest rates, commodities rebounded and earnings at companies including Dell beat analyst estimates.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.9 percent to 1,340.68, after losing 1.5 percent over the previous three days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 80.60 points, or 0.7 percent, to 12,560.18. The Nasdaq composite index rose 31,79 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 2,815. Stocks extended gains as minutes from the Fed's April policy meeting said that talks about an exit strategy from stimulus measures don't mean monetary tightening "would necessarily begin soon."

Gauges of energy and raw-material producers rallied more than 1.9 percent, the two biggest gains within 10 S&P 500 groups. Crude oil climbed above $100 a barrel in New York after an Energy Department report showed an unexpected drop in U.S. inventories as refineries bolstered operating rates and imports declined. Metal prices also gained.

Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, added 2.4 percent to $102.86. Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, rose 3.9 percent to $65.62.

Dell climbed 5.4 percent to $16.75. It's the second straight quarter that the company's results outshined those of rival Hewlett-Packard. A slowdown in home-computer sales has roiled industry leader Hewlett-Packard, which cut its annual sales forecast Tuesday. While Dell also saw its consumer revenue drop, the company said it was able to squeeze more profit out of each sale.

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