U.S. Stock Indexes Inch Higher as Energy Stocks Claw From the Hole

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Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, on Friday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

U.S. stock indexes ticked higher Friday as energy companies clawed back some of their sharp losses from earlier in the week. After flipping from modest losses to gains, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index is on pace to close out the week with a modest gain, its fourth in the last five.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 added 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,439, as of noon Eastern time.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,410, and the Nasdaq composite rose 19, or 0.3 percent, to 6,256. The Russell 2000 of small-company stocks rose 8 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,412.

More than twice as many stocks rose as fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

HIGHER ENERGY: Energy stocks in the S&P 500 added 0.8 percent and trimmed their loss for the week to 2.9 percent.

They followed the price of oil higher, as benchmark U.S. crude rose 33 cents to $43.07 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 39 cents to $45.61. Natural gas also rose 3 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $2.93 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Energy stocks had plunged earlier in the week with the price of oil, which sank to its lowest level since August on expectations that the world has more crude available than users need. Oil, though, began to stabilize Thursday.

EQT, a producer of natural gas and crude, rose to the biggest gain in the S&P 500. It jumped $2.80, or 5.4 percent, to $54.83. Range Resources, another gas and oil company, rose 78 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $22.21.

TAKING A BATH: Bed Bath & Beyond had the sharpest loss in the S&P 500 after it reported weaker earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The retailer’s revenue also fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. Shares fell $4.01, or 11.9 percent, to $29.74.

STRESS FREE: Financial stocks flipped between modest gains and losses after all 34 of the largest U.S. banks passed the Federal Reserve’s stress test. The test, meant to help restore confidence in the financial system following the 2008 financial crisis, checks whether banks are strong enough to withstand a deep recession.

YIELDS: The 10-year Treasury yield held steady at 2.15 percent late Thursday. The two-year yield was flat at 1.34 percent, and the 30-year yield held steady at 2.72 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 111.27 Japanese yen from 111.34 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1198 from $1.1147, and the British pound rose to $1.2726 from $1.2672.

MARKETS ABROAD: In Europe, France’s CAC 40 fell 0.3 percent, Germany’s DAX lost 0.5 percent and the FTSE 100 slipped 0.2 percent.

A monthly survey revealed that a measure of economic strength in the 19-country Eurozone slipped to a five-month low in June, which was below market expectations. However, the IHS Markit composite purchasing managers’ index indicated that job creation and business confidence were still robust.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.1 percent, South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong was close to flat.

COMMODITIES: Gold rose $8.20 to $1,257.60 per ounce. Silver added 18 cents to $16.69, and copper rose 3 cents to $2.63 per pound.

Heating oil rose a penny to at $1.39 per gallon and wholesale gasoline was close to flat at $1.43 per gallon.

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