Stocks inch up day af­ter plunge

Util­i­ties and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions lead the mar­ket to small gains, but not enough to make up for Mon­day.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Mar­ley Jay

new york» U.S. stocks man­aged some small gains Tues­day, but not enough to make up for big losses from the day be­fore.

Util­i­ties and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions stocks rose the most. Gen­eral Mo­tors and Ford dropped as their De­cem­ber sales fell short of an­a­lysts’ es­ti­mates.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age gained 9.72 points, or 0.06 per­cent, to 17,158.66. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex edged up 4.05 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 2,016.71. The Nasdaq com­pos­ite fell 11.66 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 4,891.43, as shares of Ap­ple sank 2.5 per­cent.

Stocks spent most of the day al­ter­nat­ing be­tween small gains and losses then turned pos­i­tive in the last hour of trad­ing. The rel­a­tively stable trad­ing came a day af­ter a plunge in China’s main in­dex set off a bout of sell­ing in global mar­kets.

De­spite in­creased ten­sions in the Mid­dle East, en­ergy prices con­tin­ued to tum­ble be­cause de­mand ap­pears weak while global stock­piles are large. An­a­lysts sur­veyed by Platts said they think re­fin­ing de­creased last week and stock­piles will grow again.

U.S. crude fell 79 cents, or 2.1 per­cent, to $35.97 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, a bench­mark for in­ter­na­tional oils, fell 80 cents, or 2.1 per­cent, to $36.42 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

The big­gest losses be­longed to drilling ser­vices com­pa­nies. En­sco lost $1, or 6.3 per­cent, to $14.89, and Di­a­mond Off­shore Drilling de­creased $1.05, or 4.8 per­cent, to $20.80. Transocean and Baker Hughes also fell.

Au­tomak­ers re­ported that last month was the best De­cem­ber in the history of the U.S. auto in­dus­try, with 1.6 mil­lion cars and trucks sold. But shares of Gen­eral Mo­tors and Ford slumped as their monthly to­tals fell short of an­a­lysts’ pro­jec­tions.

GM shares fell 88 cents, or 2.6 per­cent, to $32.43. Ford de­clined 25 cents, or 1.8 per­cent, to $13.72. Auto parts sup­plier Del­phi Au­to­mo­tive gave up $2.33, or 2.8 per­cent, to $81.66.

Gun makers con­tin­ued to trade higher as Pres­i­dent Barack Obama an­nounced ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions in­tended to re­duce gun violence and un­reg­u­lated sales. The prospect of ad­di­tional back­ground checks and other re­stric­tions of­ten boosts de­mand for guns.

Smith & Wesson rose $2.58, or 11.1 per­cent, to $25.86 and Sturm Ruger gained $4.15, or


Ticker: NVDA

ON6.8 per­cent, to $65.54. Late Mon­day, Smith & Wesson raised its profit es­ti­mates for the year, say­ing sales were bet­ter than it had ex­pected.

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