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US STOCKS-Wall Street rises on Fed's $2.3 trillion backstop

By Uday Sampath Kumar and Shreyashi Sanyal

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* Weekly jobs claims fall 261,000 to 6.6 mln

* Oil rises as major producers work on deal to cut output

* Citi, Wells Fargo jump over 10%

* Real estate, utilities lead gains

* Indexes jump: Dow 1.97%, S&P 1.82%, Nasdaq 0.87% (Updates to early afternoon)

By Uday Sampath Kumar and Shreyashi Sanyal

April 9 (Reuters) - Wall Street rose for the third time in four days on Thursday as the U.S. Federal Reserve rolled out a massive $2.3 trillion program to bolster local governments and businesses, while oil prices gained on expectations of a drastic cut in output.

In what is likely to be its largest rescue effort ever, the Fed said it would work with banks to offer 4-year loans to companies of up to 10,000 employees and directly buy bonds of states and more populous counties and cities.

"(The Fed's move) should give some confidence to investors, that the risks this time around are maybe not the same as the risks in the financial crisis," said Randy Watts, chief investment officer at O'Neil Global Advisors.

"While this rally has been impressive, the market probably is a little bit of ahead of itself and we would not be surprised to see a pullback from here."

The defensive real estate and utilities sectors jumped more than 5% to lead gains among the major S&P 500 sectors.

Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Apache Corp rose between 2% and 18% as oil prices gained, as sources said OPEC and other oil producers would debate cuts as big as 20 million barrels per day, equivalent to about 20% of global supplies.

Meanwhile, data showed initial U.S. jobless claims fell slightly last week to 6.6 million, from an upwardly revised 6.87 million the week before.

The S&P 500 has regained about 12% in the holiday-shortened week on early signs of the outbreak hitting a peak and aggressive global stimulus, but it remains about 17% below its record high as lockdown measures hamper business activity.

While public health experts stressed the need to keep people apart to contain the contagion, the restrictions have strangled the economy and sparked widespread production cuts, layoffs and projections of a severe recession.

"A rally doesn't mean we're out of the woods just yet nor that volatility is a thing of the past," said Mike Loewengart, managing director of investment strategy at E*TRADE Financial Corp in New York.

"If there is one thing recent history has shown us, it's that optimism can wear off quickly if cases climb or stay-at-home orders are extended."

At 11:48 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 461.04 points, or 1.97%, at 23,894.61, the S&P 500 was up 50.16 points, or 1.82%, at 2,800.14 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 70.01 points, or 0.87%, at 8,160.92.

Walt Disney Co jumped 4.1% as the company said its Disney+ streaming service had attracted more than 50 million paid users globally.

Wall Street's big banks also rose at least 4%, with Citigroup and Wells Fargo jumping more than 10% each.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners more than 9-to-1 on the NYSE and 4-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded five new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 13 new highs and six new lows. (Reporting by Uday Sampath and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sagarika Jaisinghani, Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)