Crude oil rose to the highest in almost four months as the U.S. stock market advanced, signaling that fuel use in the world’s biggest energy-consuming country will rebound. Oil climbed as much as 3.8 percent after equities climbed on speculation that the Obama administration’s plan to rid banks of distressed assets will spur growth. Stock and commodity markets extended gains after a report showed that U.S. sales of previously owned homes unexpectedly climbed in February.

Crude oil for May delivery rose 89 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $52.96 a barrel at 2:05 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil touched $54.05, the highest since Dec. 1. Prices are up 19 percent this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 3.9 percent to 798.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 3.9 percent to 7,561.05.

Home purchases increased 5.1 percent to an annual rate of 4.72 million from 4.49 million in January, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. “This a macro-economic story,” said John Kilduff, senior vice president of energy at MF Global Inc. in New York. “There are now details about the Treasury plan to buy distressed assets. There is going to be additional massive expenditure, which will keep pressure on the dollar.”