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NEW YORK REPORT

US stocks advanced yesterday on an uptick in corporate deal activity while the weak dollar led to gains in commodities, lifting shares of oil and mining companies.<br /><br />Although <strong>Kraft&rsquo;s</strong> stock fell nearly 6 per cent, other food companies rose, including <strong>Hershey</strong>, which added 1.3 per cent to $39.14.<br /><br />The dollar fell to its lowest this year against the euro, pushing oil up 4.5 per cent and gold temporarily above $1,000 an ounce.<br /><br /><strong>Chevron</strong> rose more than 2 per cent to $70.48, leading the Dow higher, and <strong>Freeport-McMoRan</strong> Copper &amp; Gold gained 3 per cent to $68.00. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 56.07 points, or 0.59 per cent, at 9,497.34. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 Index rose 8.98 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 1,025.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 18.99 points, or 0.94 per cent, at 2,037.77.<br /><br />Also in the oil sector, <strong>Exxon Mobil</strong> gained 2.1 per cent to $70.65. The S&amp;P index of energy companies was up 2.6 per cent.&nbsp; And shares of <strong>General Electric</strong> advanced 4.5 per cent to $14.50 after <strong>JP Morgan</strong> upgraded the stock, saying it was one of the last equities for which a little good news could still go a long way. <br /><br />Health insurance stocks slid 1.6 per cent before US President Barack Obama&rsquo;s address to Congress on today.