Energy Stocks Lead Market Higher, as Oil Nears High for Year

NEW YORK (AP) -
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Stocks pushed higher around the world Wednesday, led by energy companies and raw-material producers. The price of crude touched its highest level since the start of the year, part of a rally for commodities overall, as more signs indicate that economies around the globe are strengthening in sync.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose nearly 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,585, as of 10:45 a.m. Eastern time.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 112 points, or 0.5 percent, to 23,490, and the Nasdaq composite rose 5 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,733. Smaller stocks lagged behind the rest of the market, and the small-cap Russell 2000 index fell 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,502.

ENERGIZED: Oil producers led the market higher, and energy stocks in the S&P 500 jumped 1.2 percent for the biggest gain among the 11 sectors that make up the index.

They rose with the price of oil. Benchmark U.S. crude gained 34 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $54.72 after it earlier touched its highest level since Jan. 3. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 37 cents to $61.31 per barrel.

Stocks of raw-material producers were also strong, and those in the S&P 500 climbed 0.6 percent. They benefited from a rise in the price of copper, which rose 4 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $3.14 per pound, and other metals.

BEAUTIFUL: Estee Lauder jumped to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after strong sales growth in China and Hong Kong helped it to report higher revenue and earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It rose $9.60, or 8.6 percent, to $121.41.

EARNINGS SURPRISE: Estee Lauder joined the growing list of companies that have beat analysts’ expectations for the most recent quarter. Nearly two thirds of companies in the S&P 500 have said how much profit they earned from July through September, and the majority have topped Wall Street’s forecasts.

Technology stocks have been particularly strong, with 68 percent reporting both earnings and revenue above analysts’ estimates.

ENCOURAGING ECONOMIC DATA: Private employers added more jobs than economists expected last month, according to a survey by ADP. That raises expectations that Friday’s more comprehensive jobs report from the government will also be strong.

Reports keep piling up that paint an encouraging picture of the economy. Earlier this week, reports showed that consumer confidence and spending are both on the rise.

CENTRAL BANKS: Several of the world’s largest central banks are meeting this week, and the Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day meeting today. Most economists expect it to hold interest rates steady and wait until its December gathering to raise rates for the third time this year.

Earlier in the week, the Bank of Japan decided to keep its interest rates at ultra-low levels. On Thursday, the Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates, which would be the first increase in a decade.

Investors also expect President Donald Trump to name his choice to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve by the end of the week.

MARKETS ABROAD: The French CAC 40 rose 0.4 percent, the FTSE 100 in London added 0.3 percent and Germany’s DAX rose 1.8 percent. The Japanese Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.9 percent, South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.3 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 1.2 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 113.92 Japanese yen from 113.71 yen late Tuesday. The euro dipped to $1.1635 from $1.1651, and the British pound slipped to $1.3276 from $1.3282.

YIELDS: The 10-year Treasury yield dipped to 2.35 percent from 2.38 percent late Tuesday. The two-year yield ticked up to 1.61 percent from 1.60 percent, and the 30-year yield dipped to 2.84 percent from 2.88 percent.