Retailers Help Send Indexes to Records on 6th Day of Gains


U.S. stocks climbed for the sixth day in a row Thursday as strong first-quarter results from retailers like Best Buy and PVH led indexes to record highs. That offset weakness in energy stocks caused by a plunge in oil prices.

Stocks are on their longest winning streak in three months as retailers, technology companies, household products companies and health care firms made large gains.

The Nasdaq composite joined the Standard & Poor’s 500 in setting record highs. While retailers that run stores jumped, their online rival Amazon also made a sizable gain as its stock price approached $1,000 for the first time.

Small companies were mostly left out of the rally, however. And even though OPEC and a group of other oil-producing nations extended their cuts in production, the price of oil fell almost 5 percent and energy companies took steep losses.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 10.68 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,415.07. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 70.53 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,082.95. The Nasdaq composite jumped 42.23 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,205.26, above the record it notched last week. The Russell 2000 index edged up just 0.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,383.39.

A group of 24 countries including OPEC members and Russia said they will extend their production cuts for nine months in an effort to shore up oil prices. That was what most analysts expected, but investors appeared to have gotten their hopes up for a longer extension. And while oil prices have rallied over the last few weeks, experts were skeptical that the deal will do much to boost prices.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost $2.46, or 4.8 percent, to $48.90 a barrel in New York and Brent crude, the international standard, fell $2.50, or 4.6 percent, to $51.46 a barrel in London. Oilfield services company Schlumberger sagged $1.97, or 2.8 percent, to $69.39 and Marathon Oil dropped $1.03, or 7.1 percent, to $13.50.

Unlike the other major indexes, the Russell 2000 has not recouped all of its losses from last Wednesday, when the stock market had its worst day of the year. The index is comprised of smaller companies that tend to be more U.S.-focused, which means new challenges to President Donald Trump’s proposed agenda of reduced taxes and regulations has hit those companies harder.

Technology companies made significant gains. Microsoft rose 85 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $69.62 and Google parent Alphabet also neared the millennial mark as it gained $14.25, or 1.5 percent, to $991.86. Apple added 53 cents to $153.87.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline skidded 4 cents to $1.61 a gallon. Heating oil lost 6 cents to $1.55 a gallon. Natural gas slid 3 cents to $3.18 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $3.30 to $1,256.40 an ounce. Silver gained 8 cents to $17.19 an ounce. Copper rose 1 cent to $2.60 a pound.

Bond prices declined. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.26 percent from 2.25 percent.

The dollar dipped to 111.80 yen from 111.90 yen. The euro rose to $1.1205 from $1.1195.

Germany’s DAX was down 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 lost 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index in Britain was unchanged. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo climbed 0.4 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rallied 0.8 percent. The Kospi of South Korea jumped 1 percent.