US STOCKS-Wall St set for five-day winning streak as oil surges
* Valeant jumps as investors hope for positive news
* Crude oil surges more than 5 pct
* Indexes up: Dow 0.42 pct, S&P 0.17 pct, Nasdaq 0.13 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 7 (Reuters) - The S&P and the Dow were on track to register their first five-day streak of gains since October as a surge in oil prices lifted energy and materials stocks on Monday.
Crude prices, which have largely dictated the direction of the stock market this year, extended gains and were up more than 5 percent. Brent crude was above $40 a barrel, its highest since early December.
"Oil is stabilizing and that is helping to bolster sentiment in overall equity returns," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.
"It appears that the extreme bearish scenarios are being discounted at the moment, and there seems to be a bias to the upside," said Sandven.
The Dow stayed above 17,000 on Monday, after breaching the psychologically important level on Friday, while the S&P 500 hovered near the 2,000 mark. Continuación...