US STOCKS-Gains in energy stocks push Wall St higher
* Oil prices jump about 5 pct
* Gap sinks after poor March same-store sales
* Indexes up: Dow 0.55 pct, S&P 0.58 pct, Nasdaq 0.52 pct (Updates to open)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan and Abhiram Nandakumar
April 8 (Reuters) - Wall Street was higher on Friday, bolstered by a surge in crude oil and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's comments pointing to resilience in the U.S. economy.
U.S. crude rose 5 percent on rising hopes that top producers would agree to freeze output and economic indicators in the United States and Europe would push demand higher.
Yellen, in an appearance with former Fed chairmen on Thursday, said the U.S. economy was on a solid course with some hints of inflation, putting the central bank on track for a gradual increase in interest rates this year.
New York Fed President William Dudley said a cautious and gradual approach to raising rates was appropriate, given lingering external risks to the U.S. economy.
U.S. stocks have been volatile through the week, with the S&P 500 down 1.5 percent, as investors fretted over a cloudy outlook on rates and signs of weakness in the global economy. Continuación...