Stocks notch gains, snap los­ing streak

The News-Times - - BUSINESS -

Gains in en­ergy and in­ter­net com­pa­nies helped drive stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Thurs­day, snap­ping a two-day los­ing streak for the mar­ket in an oth­er­wise choppy week of trad­ing.

The gains were ini­tially fu­eled by rising oil prices, which boosted en­ergy com­pa­nies fol­low­ing a sus­pected at­tack on two oil tankers in the strate­gic Strait of Hor­muz. The sec­tor sus­tained its gains as a mix of me­dia, in­ter­net and con­sumer-ori­ented com­pa­nies took the lead in push­ing every ma­jor in­dex higher. Small com­pany stocks rose more than the rest of the mar­ket.

In­vestors have been search­ing for direc­tion as they cau­tiously await any new de­vel­op­ments on the global trade war be­tween the U.S. and China. Any con­tin­ued es­ca­la­tions could crimp global eco­nomic growth and put the brakes on what is poised to be the long­est eco­nomic ex­pan­sion in U.S. his­tory.

Anticipati­on of next week’s Fed­eral Re­serve meet­ing of pol­i­cy­hold­ers helped lift the mar­ket Thurs­day, said Jeff Zip­per, manag­ing direc­tor at U.S. Bank Pri­vate Wealth Management.

“You’ve got two com­pet­ing forces here right now,” Zip­per said. “The lin­ger­ing is­sue of when is this trade tar­iff deal go­ing to get re­solved, and a more dovish Fed.”

Last week, Fed Chair Jerome Pow­ell set off a mar­ket rally af­ter he sig­naled that the cen­tral bank is will­ing to cut in­ter­est rates to help sta­bi­lize the econ­omy if the trade war be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Bei­jing starts to crimp growth.

The S&P 500 in­dex rose 11.80 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 2,891.64. The bench­mark in­dex has been see­saw­ing this week, open­ing strong on Mon­day, and then fall­ing for two straight days be­fore re­vers­ing course again on Thurs­day. The un­even week fol­lows the in­dex’s best week of 2019.

The Dow Jones In­dus­trial Av­er­age gained 101.94 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 26,106.77. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite added 44.41 points, or

0.6 per­cent, to 7,837.13. The Russell

2000 in­dex of small com­pany stocks climbed 16.01 points, or 1.1 per­cent, to 1,535.80.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note fell to

2.10 per­cent from 2.12 per­cent late Wed­nes­day.

U.S. stock in­dexes re­bounded early on Thurs­day as oil prices surged on news of a sus­pected at­tack on two oil tankers in the strate­gic Strait of Hor­muz.

The in­ci­dent in the Strait of Hor­muz comes amid height­ened ten­sions be­tween the United States and Iran. One third of all oil traded by sea, which amounts to 20 per­cent of oil traded world­wide, passes through the strait. The U.S. blamed Iran in what it called a cam­paign of “es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions” in a re­gion cru­cial to global en­ergy sup­plies.

Bench­mark U.S. crude rose 2.2 per­cent to settle at $52.28 a bar­rel. Brent crude oil, the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, added 2.2 per­cent to close at $61.31 a bar­rel. The gains come at a time when oil prices have been fall­ing on signs de­mand is de­clin­ing.

An­a­lysts ques­tioned whether the gains can hold. Jim Rit­ter­busch of Rit­ter­busch & As­so­ciates said in a note to clients the jump is fac­tor­ing in a worst case sce­nario and oil is “apt to re­lin­quish the bulk of gains as additional details emerge.”

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