Oil spurt drives Dow to new high
Jump comes with hike for Exxon, Mobil and Chevron; still nine stocks fell for every five that rose.
Stocks mostly fell on Monday, but a spurt in oil prices helped push the energy sector higher and the Dow Jones industrial average to another record.
The Dow rose 39.58 points, or 0.2 percent, to extend its record set on Friday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index, which is the benchmark for many more investors than the Dow, pulled back from its own record, also set on Friday, and dipped 2.57 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,256.96. The Nasdaq composite fell 31.96, or 0.6 percent, to 5,412.54.
The Dow was able to make the lone gain among the big three indexes partly thanks to Exxon Mobil and Chevron. They rose with oil, which touched its highest price since the summer of 2015 after OPEC persuaded Russia and 10 other oil-producing nations to announce production cuts.
Energy stocks in the S&P 500 rose 0.7 percent, and they were among the six sectors to rise of the 11 that make up the index.
Still, nine stocks fell on the New York Stock Exchange for every five that rose, and the day’s loss marked the end of a six-day winning streak for the S&P 500, its longest such run since June 2014.
When the Federal Reserve wraps up its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, investors almost universally expect it to raise short-term interest rates for just the second time in a decade.
The central bank has held interest rates at close to zero since the Great Recession in hopes of driving economic growth, though the low rates also have squeezed savers looking for income from bank accounts and bonds.
That helped Exxon Mobil to rise $1.98, or 2.2 percent, to $90.98. Chevron rose $1.34, or 1.2 percent, to $117.15, and ConocoPhillips rose 61 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $51.38.
The biggest loss in the S&P 500 came from Alexion Pharmaceuticals, which dropped $16.99, or 12.9 percent, to $115.08 after the company named an interim CEO and a new chief financial officer. The biopharmaceutical company is in the midst of an investigation into its sales practices.
Viacom had the second-biggest decline in the index. The media company, which owns Paramount, Comedy Central and MTV, fell $3.63, or 9.4 percent, to $34.99. National Amusements, which controls both Viacom and CBS, said it’s no longer looking to combine the two.