US STOCKS-Wall St up more than 1 pct for 2nd day; tech leads
* U.S. crude settles down; energy shares near flat
* Initial claims point to strengthening labor market
* Oracle up after results
* Indexes up: Dow 1.6 pct, S&P 1.7 pct, Nasdaq 1.8 pct (Updates to late afternoon)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks advanced more than 1 percent on Thursday, extending a rally from the previous session as tech shares gained with stronger-than-expected results from Oracle.
The technology sector, up 2.4 percent, helped fuel the advance, buoyed by a gain of over 8 percent in Oracle Corp , a day after its quarterly results topped Wall Street expectations. Shares of Apple climbed 1.9 percent.
On Wednesday, the benchmark S&P 500 index had notched its best day since October 2013 after the Federal Reserve gave an upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy and said it would take a patient approach toward raising interest rates.
The S&P 500 had fallen nearly 5 percent from its most recent record high on Dec. 5 before the strong gains on Wednesday. Continuación...