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Stocks End Higher, Led By Energy Shares as Oil Rises

JPMorgan predicts the S&P 500 will reach 4,700 by year-end, saying it remains confident that strong economic growth lies ahead.

U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday, led by energy shares, as oil prices pushed higher.

Oil has benefited from shrinking U.S. stockpiles and OPEC forecasts of heightened demand next year. Chevron  (CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report shares gained 2.1%, and ExxonMobil  (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report rose 3.4%.

Many stock strategists are warning of an equities correction to come, amid a deceleration in U.S. economic growth and the spread of COVID-19. But JPMorgan Chase sounded a bullish note Wednesday.

“Despite concerns about the recent downshift in economic and business cycle momentum, we remain confident that strong growth lies ahead, and activity is bound to reaccelerate,” wrote JPMorgan strategist Dubravko Lakos-Bujas in a commentary cited by CNBC.

“We remain positive on the equity outlook, and expect the S&P 500 to reach 4,700 by the end of this year and surpass 5,000 next year on better-than-expected earnings,” Lakos-Bujas wrote.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.85%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.68%, bouncing back from a two-month low. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite gained 0.82%. Meanwhile, the 10-year Treasury yield rose 2 basis points to 1.30%. 

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Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report helped boost the market, rising 1.7%, after the world's second-largest tech company unveiled plans to boost its quarterly dividend and buyback additional shares.

Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report fell early in the session amid a lukewarm reception from analysts and tech watchers for its newly unveiled iPhone 13. But it closed up 0.61%.

Meanwhile, shares of U.S. casinos with operations in Macau tumbled, after Macau officials said they would tighten regulation of the industry.

Las Vegas Sands  (LVS) - Get Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) Report shares fell 2%, Wynn Resorts WYNN 6% and MGM Resorts International  (MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International (MGM) Report 3%.

As for oil, the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude stocks slid 6.4 million barrels over the week ended Sept. 10, more than twice the consensus market forecast. Gasoline stockpiles are now at their lowest levels since 2017, the EIA said.

October WTI crude futures rose 3% to $72.66 per barrel.

In overseas markets, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index eased 0.7% amid weak data from China. The European Stoxx 600 also dipped 0.7%, after the highest U.K. CPI reading in nine years--a 3.2% jump in August from last year.