Stocks inch higher as oil prices rise

En­ergy com­pa­nies claw back some steep losses but still close out their worst week in nine months.

Los Angeles Times - - HIGHWAY 1 -

U.S. stock in­dexes nudged higher Friday af­ter en­ergy com­pa­nies clawed back some of their sharp losses from ear­lier in the week.

Af­ter me­an­der­ing up and down through the day, the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 rose 3.80 points, or 0.2%, to end at 2,438.30. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age slipped 2.53 points, or less than 0.1%, to 21,394.76, and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite gained 28.56, or 0.5%, to 6,265.25. More than twice as many stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Ex­change.

En­ergy stocks led the way, and those in the S&P 500 climbed 0.8% for the largest gain of the 11 sec­tors that make up the in­dex.

Ris­ing prices for oil and nat­u­ral gas drove the gains. Bench­mark U.S. crude added 27 cents to set­tle at $43.01 per bar­rel. Brent crude, the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, rose 32 cents to $45.54 and nat­u­ral gas gained 4 cents, or 1.2%, to $2.93 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

EQT, a pro­ducer of nat­u­ral gas and crude, had the day’s big­gest gain in the S&P 500 and jumped $4.16, or 8%, to $56.19. Cabot Oil & Gas climbed 88 cents, or 3.8%, to $23.74.

Friday’s gains, though, weren’t enough to keep en­ergy stocks from clos­ing out their worst week in nine months. They had ear­lier sunk four straight days as oil dropped to its low­est price since Au­gust on ex­pec­ta­tions that the world has more crude sup­plies than users need. En­ergy stocks lost 2.9% over the course of the week.

What kept broad in­dexes afloat for the week were big gains for health­care and tech­nol­ogy stocks. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% for the week.

Health­care stocks climbed as the Se­nate un­veiled its pro­posal to revamp how Amer­i­cans get med­i­cal care.

Tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, mean­while, are fore­cast to re­port strong growth in the up­com­ing earn­ings sea­son, and Or­a­cle’s profit re­port on Wed­nes­day sailed past an­a­lysts’ ex­pec­ta­tions.

Friday’s big­gest de­cliner in the S&P 500 was Bed Bath & Beyond, which re­ported weaker earn­ings for the lat­est quar­ter than an­a­lysts ex­pected. The re­tailer’s revenue also fell short of Wall Street’s fore­casts. Its shares fell $4.09, or 12.1%, to $29.65.

Bond prices were lit­tle changed, and yields held rel­a­tively steady. The 10-year Trea­sury yield dipped to 2.14% from 2.15% late Thursday. The two-year yield was flat at 1.34%, and the 30-year yield held at 2.72%.

The dol­lar slipped to 111.26 Ja­panese yen from 111.34 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1199 from $1.1147, and the Bri­tish pound rose to $1.2722 from $1.2672.

In Euro­pean stock mar­kets, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.3%, Germany’s DAX lost 0.5% and the FTSE 100 slipped 0.2%.

A monthly sur­vey re­vealed that a mea­sure of eco­nomic strength in the 19coun­try Eu­ro­zone slipped to a five-month low in June, which was be­low market ex­pec­ta­tions. How­ever, the IHS Markit com­pos­ite pur­chas­ing man­agers’ in­dex in­di­cated that job cre­ation and busi­ness con­fi­dence were still ro­bust.

Ja­pan’s Nikkei 225 in­dex added 0.1%, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was close to flat.

In the com­modi­ties market, gold in­creased $7 to set­tle at $1,256.40 ounce. Sil­ver added 14 cents to $16.65 per ounce and cop­per rose 3 cents to $2.62 per pound.

Heat­ing oil was close to flat at $1.37 per gal­lon and whole­sale gaso­line was lit­tle changed at $1.43 per gal­lon.

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