NEW YORK, Mar. 24 -- U.S. stocks edged higher on Wednesday as mining and energy shares surged because of high oil prices.
The energy sector advanced 0.38 percent as oil price hit its highest level since Sept. 26, 2008.
Meanwhile, basic materials shares, the best performers on Wednesday, also rose 1.39 percent as investors were expecting that the higher rebuilding cost of Japan's disaster will lead to great demand on basic material sector.
The Japanese government said that the estimated damage from the devastating earthquake and tsunami were over 300 billion U.S. dollars. Companies such as Toyota and Honda have suspended their production at some plants.
On economic front, data showed sales of new homes in the United States plunged in February to the lowest level on records dating back nearly half a century, a dismal sign for an already-weak housing market.
Bank of American dropped 1.87 percent after the Federal Reserve rejected to its plan for raising its dividend in the second half of this year. The financial share also declined 0.01 percent because of it.
The Dow Jones industrial average gain 67.39 points, or 0.56 percent, to 12,086.02. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index advanced 3. 77 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,297.54. The Nasdaq was up 14.43 points, or 0.54 percent, to 2,698.30.