US STOCKS-Bulls chalk one up after late-day surge on Wall St
* Big banks fall; weigh on financial sector
* JP Morgan flat after signaling rough first quarter
* Indexes end higher: Dow 0.32 pct, S&P 0.44 pct, Nasdaq 0.87 pct (Updates to close)
By Noel Randewich
Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks mounted a late-session rally to close higher on Wednesday after an increase in oil prices helped reduce investors' fears about banks' vulnerability to energy companies struggling to pay their debts.
Nine of the 10 major S&P sectors rose, with the materials index up 0.99 percent.
The S&P energy sector gained 0.9 percent, trimming its loss in 2016 to 27 percent after U.S. crude futures settled nearly 1 percent higher.
Crude prices near 2003 lows have hammered the earnings of U.S. energy companies, exacerbated fears of a slowing global economy and created turbulence on Wall Street that has left the S&P 500 almost 6 percent weaker since the start of the year.
The three major indexes moved higher toward the end of the day after trading deep in negative territory. Continuación...