U.S. Stocks Notch Gains, Snap Short Losing Streak

NEW YORK (AP) -

Gains in energy and internet companies helped drive stocks broadly higher on Wall Street Thursday, snapping a two-day losing streak for the market in an otherwise choppy week of trading.

The gains were initially fueled by rising oil prices, which boosted energy companies following a suspected attack on two oil tankers in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. The sector sustained its gains as a mix of media, internet and consumer-oriented companies took the lead in pushing every major index higher. Small company stocks rose more than the rest of the market.

Investors have been searching for direction as they cautiously await any new developments on the global trade war between the U.S. and China.

Anticipation of next week’s Federal Reserve meeting of policyholders helped lift the market Thursday, said Jeff Zipper, managing director at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management.

“You’ve got two competing forces here right now,” Zipper said. “The lingering issue of when is this trade tariff deal going to get resolved, and a more dovish Fed.”

The S&P 500 index rose 11.80 points, or 0.4%, to 2,891.64. The benchmark index has been seesawing this week, opening strong on Monday, and then falling for two straight days before reversing course again on Thursday. The uneven week follows the index’s best week of 2019.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 101.94 points, or 0.4%, to 26,106.77. The Nasdaq composite added 44.41 points, or 0.6%, to 7,837.13. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks climbed 16.01 points, or 1.1%, to 1,535.80.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.10% from 2.12% late Wednesday.

U.S. stock indexes rebounded early on Thursday as oil prices surged on news of a suspected attack on two oil tankers in the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

The incident in the Strait of Hormuz comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran. One third of all oil traded by sea, which amounts to 20% of oil traded worldwide, passes through the strait.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 2.2% to settle at $52.28 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, added 2.2% to close at $61.31 a barrel. The gains come at a time when oil prices have been falling on signs demand is declining.

The surge in oil prices lifted shares of oil services companies and oil producers. Schlumberger gained 3.4%.

Tapestry’s 3.9% gain led a mix of consumer-oriented stocks higher, including Macy’s, home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s, and homebuilders.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage held steady from last week at 3.82 percent, its lowest point since September 2017. Lennar and KB Home each rose 1.9%.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline rose 2% to $1.72 per gallon. Heating oil gained 1.5% to $1.81 per gallon. Natural gas fell 2.6% to $2.33 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose 0.4% to $1,336.80 per ounce, silver inched 0.1% higher to $14.75 per ounce and copper fell 0.7% to $2.65 per pound.

The dollar fell to 108.34 Japanese yen from 108.48 yen on Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.1279 from $1.1286.