Stocks Keep Climbing as Oil Gains and Factories Rev Up

NEW YORK (AP) -
American flags fly in front of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
American flags fly in front of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

U.S. stocks are jumping as the price of oil climbs sharply and factory output gains strength. Energy and tech companies are posting some of the biggest increases, led by Microsoft and Facebook. Stocks are closing in on their third large gain in a row.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 231 points, or 1.4 percent, to 16,427 as of 2 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 28 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,923. The Nasdaq composite added 87 points, or 2 percent, to 4,523.

On Thursday the S&P 500 closed at its lowest level of the year, down more than 10 percent in 2016. In the last three days it has recovered about half of that loss.

OIL REBOUNDS: The price of oil recovered as investors again hoped for an international deal that will cap or cut production. Several OPEC nations are in talks about a freeze, but Iran said Wednesday it won’t stop increasing its exports. Still, investors appeared to be encouraged that the countries are talking.

On Tuesday Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to keep oil production at January’s levels, but the deal will only take effect if other OPEC nations agree to it. Iran wants to raise output following the lifting of sanctions.

U.S. crude surged $1.55, or 5.3 percent, to $30.59 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, gained $2.11, or 6.6 percent, to $34.29 a barrel in London. U.S. crude surged 12 percent Friday before slipping on Tuesday.

ENERGY AND TECH LEAD: Energy stocks climbed with the price of oil. Chevron rose $3.35, or 4 percent, to $88.16 and Hess picked up $2.74, or 6.7 percent, to $43.58. Tech stocks made big gains, led by Microsoft, which added $1.48, or 2.9 percent, to $52.57, and Facebook, which rose $3, or 3 percent, to $104.61.

PRICELINE IS RIGHT: Online travel company Priceline climbed after its profit and revenue surpassed estimates. The stock gained $121.64, or 11 percent, to $1,232.32. Expedia rose almost 4.5 percent and TripAdvisor about 3 percent. Expedia and TripAdvisor also climbed recently after posting strong results.

THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Personal navigation device maker Garmin rose $4.51, or 12.8 percent, to $39.74 after its fourth-quarter profit topped Wall Street estimates.

SET YOUR WATCHES: Watch and accessories maker Fossil Group posted profit and revenue that were far better than expected, and its annual profit guidance also pleased investors. The stock added $8.78, or 25.5 percent, to $43.24.

Fossil was one of the worst-performing stocks on the S&P 500 last year. It lost almost two-thirds of its value as fitness trackers became more popular and the Apple Watch was launched.

DEVON DIVES: Oil and natural gas company Devon Energy tumbled after saying it will eliminate 20 percent of its staff in the first quarter and slash its spending and its quarterly dividend in response to the diminished price of oil.

The stock lost $1.44, or 6.8 percent, to $19.82. It’s down 70 percent over the last year.

TRANSUNION CLIMBS: Credit Rating Company TransUnion jumped after its fourth-quarter results were better than expected and its outlook for 2016 was also stronger than analysts anticipated. The stock rose $3.94, or 18.4 percent, to $25.30. TransUnion is now trading above its IPO price of $22.50 a share.

BUFFETT BOOST: Kinder Morgan rose after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a 1.2-percent stake in the pipeline company. The stock advanced $1.63, or 10.4 percent, to $17.25.

POWERING UP: U.S. factories cranked out more cars, furniture and food in January. The Federal Reserve said factory output rose 0.5 percent, the biggest increase since July. Output had fallen in four of the previous five months.

The data suggests U.S. manufacturing may be recovering after struggling last year. While the strong dollar and weak overseas growth have cut into exports and corporate profits, Americans are also spending at a solid pace.

METALS: The price of gold rose $3.20 to $1,211.40 an ounce and silver inched up 4.3 cents to $15.377 an ounce. Copper added 2.5 cents to $2.076 a pound.

EUROPE: Germany’s DAX rose 2.7 percent and France’s CAC 40 gained 3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 2.9 percent.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.4 percent as investors shrugged off data showing strong machinery orders in January. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 1 percent while the Shanghai Composite rose 1.1 percent.

CURRENCIES: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 1.83 percent from 1.78 percent. The dollar rose to 114.24 yen from 113.88 yen. The euro slipped to $1.114 from $1.144.