U.S. Stocks Rise as Energy Companies Rally With Oil Prices

NEW YORK (AP) -
stocks, Dow, S&P, Nasdaq

Energy companies jumped with the price of oil Wednesday, but overall, stocks finished only slightly higher as a quiet week of trading continued.

The price of U.S. crude oil jumped 3 percent as fuel stockpiles kept shrinking, and that made investors more optimistic about energy company profits. Strong earnings from Electronic Arts and chipmaker Nvidia helped technology stocks move up. However weak results from Priceline and Disney hurt consumer-focused companies, and health care stocks also stumbled as drug companies fell.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 2.71 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,399.63, a fraction of a point above the all-time high it set Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 32.67 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,943.11 as Disney and Boeing slumped. The Nasdaq composite finished at a record for the fourth day in a row as it rose 8.56 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,129.14. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks was up 7.73 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,399.59.

Benchmark U.S. crude surged $1.45, or 3.2 percent, to $47.33 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gained $1.49, or 3.1 percent, to $50.22 a barrel in London

EOG Resources gained $2.90, or 3.2 percent, to $94.54 and Chevron added $1.42, or 1.4 percent, to $106.50.

Crude oil prices have fallen in recent weeks as investors wondered if the members of OPEC and other key oil-producing countries will be able to limit production and support prices. U.S. oil has traded between around $45 and $55 a barrel this year as investors worried about oil prices and profits at energy companies. The S&P 500’s energy sector has dropped 10 percent in 2017.

Revenue for online booking service Priceline was a bit lower than analysts expected and the company’s profit forecast for the current quarter was also disappointing. That sent the stock down $86.72, or 4.5 percent, to $1,824.41. Priceline has soared 44 percent over the last 12 months.

Boeing lost $2.31, or 1.2 percent, to $183.18 after it suspended test flights of its new 737 Max plane because of possible problems with a key engine part.

Watchmaker Fossil tumbled after another weaker-than-expected quarterly report. The company said sales of traditional watches and other jewelry continued to fall. The stock fell $3.71, or 20.4 percent, to $14.44. The stock traded above $100 a share as recently as December 2014 but has been trading at eight-year lows.

Bond prices rose early but later returned that gain. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.41 percent.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 5 cents to $1.54 a gallon. Heating oil added 3 cents to $1.48 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 7 cents to $3.29 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold inched up $2.80 to settle at $1,218.90 an ounce. Silver rose 14 cents to $16.21 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $2.49 a pound.

The dollar rose to 114.33 yen from 114.28 yen. The euro dipped to $1.0862 from $1.0869.

In Britain, the FTSE 100 jumped 0.6 percent. Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent and the CAC 40 in France finished unchanged. The Japanese Nikkei 225 gained 0.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.5 percent. The Kospi of South Korea fell 1 percent.