US stocks
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in lower Manhattan in, New York, U.S., April 20, 2016.Reuters

US stocks experienced one of its best days, closing off highs but still a record for 2016, as oil futures continued to rally. The Dow Jones Industrial Average settled at its highest level since 20 July 2015, while the S&P 500 closed at its highest since 1 December.

The Dow Jones rose 42.67 points, or 0.2%, settling at 18,096.27 for its third straight session of gains. Earlier in the session, the blue-chip gauge had been up by as much as 114 points. Boeing, Caterpillar and Procter & Gamble were the biggest decliners, weighing the Dow down bellow the psychologically key 18,100 level. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs and United Health were the biggest contributors to gains.

The S&P 500 advanced 1.60 points, or 0.1%, to settle at 2,102.40 to also mark its third straight session of gains. Rises by the financial and energy sector helped the index close at its highest level since 1 December. Utilities dropped 2.4% and consumer staples settled down 1.4% to lead decliners.

Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 7.8 points, or 0.2%, to close at 4,948.13. US crude oil futures continue to rally with May delivery settling up $1.55, or 3.77%, at $42.63. Following its close, the contract rolled to June, which closed up 4.03% at $44.18 a barrel, CNBC reported.

"If the oil sector continues to rally and banks can hold most of their gains from February lows, don't discount the possibility of new highs on the S&P 500," Tim Anderson, managing director at MND Partners, told MarketWatch.

The US dollar index traded 0.6% higher, with the euro at $1.129 and the yen at 109.79 yen against the greenback, CNBC noted. Meanwhile, Treasury yields closed up, with the 2-year yield at 0.81% and the 10-year yield surging to 1.859%—the highest since March. Gold futures also closed higher.

Overseas, European stocks closed up about half a percent, with the STOXX Europe 600 Banks index reporting gains of 2.2%. In Asia, stocks were mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 ended 0.2% higher while the Shanghai Composite dropped 2.3%.