Stocks gain on earnings, oil prices
Rising corporate profits and a jump in oil prices helped push the stock market to a modest gain Wednesday.
Delta and Intel led the way up after turning in results that beat Wall Street’s forecasts. The price of oil soared to its highest price this year, driving up energy stocks.
For investors, any good news comes as a welcome surprise this earnings season, which is widely expected to be the worst in years. Analysts predict that companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index will report a 3% drop in profits. Most of the blame lies with the slump in oil prices over the last year, which has squeezed oil and gas companies, and a strong dollar, which diminishes the value of profits earned abroad when they’re brought home.
The S&P 500 rose 10.79 points, or 0.5%, to 2,106.63. Transocean, an operator of drilling rigs, soared 10%, the biggest gain in the index.
The Dow Jones industrial average added 75.91 points, or 0.4%, to 18,112.61, and the Nasdaq composite gained 33.73 points, or 0.7%, to 5,011.02.
Delta Air Lines said its quarterly profit more than tripled as passengers f lew more and fuel prices plunged from a year ago. The results sent Delta’s stock up $1.12, or 3%, to $44.20.
After the market closed Tuesday, Intel, the world’s largest maker of computer chips, reported quarterly profits that beat analysts’ targets. Intel’s stock surged $1.34, or 4%, to $32.83.
Crude oil jumped $3.10 to settle at $56.39, hitting its highest price this year, after the Energy Department said that storage of crude rose by the smallest amount in three months. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $1.89 to $60.32 in London.
Bank of America turned in a quarterly profit after a big loss a year ago as it put some of its legal troubles behind it. But revenue remained flat for its main businesses. The bank’s stock fell 18 cents, or 1%, to $15.64.
In the market for U.S. government bonds, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 1.90%.