Stocks close higher as energy sector rallies on oil-price spike

Stocks close higher as energy sector rallies on oil-price spike

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude jumps more than 2%

U.S. stocks closed higher Thursday, following back-to-back losses for major indexes, as investors monitored a sharp jump in oil futures after two oil tankers were damaged in suspected attacks off the coast of Iran.

How did major indexes fare?

Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.39%   rose 101.94 points, or 0.4%, to 26,106.77, and the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.41%  added 11.80 points, or 0.4%, to 2,891.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.57%  gained 44.41 points, or 0.6%, to 7,837.13.

What drove the market?

Oil futures surged after reports about attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, near the Strait of Hormuz, with the U.S. Navy rushing to assist the vessels. Brent crude BRNQ19, +0.08%  and U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude CLN19, -0.29% both jumped sharply.

Energy stocks were among the S&P 500’s top performers, with the sector up 1.3%.

Analysts continue to point to developments around U.S.-China tensions as a risk for global equities. Investors might have found some relief in remarks by President Donald Trump late Wednesday. Trump told reporters that he doesn’t have a deadline for imposing additional tariffs on Chinese goods.

“My deadline is what’s up here,” Trump said, pointing to his head, adding he had a “feeling” a deal could be reached.

The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits in the week ended June 8 rose to 222,000 from 219,000 a week earlier. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast 218,000.

The cost of imported goods fell 0.3% last month, the Labor Department said Thursday.

What were analysts saying?

“The market seems to be ignoring China trade and geopolitical issues and focusing on the strong economy, rising productivity and low unemployment,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist of U.S. equity strategy at CFRA, told MarketWatch.

The oil-tanker attacks “are affecting oil prices,” and energy-related stocks, “but the market doesn’t think the Strait of Hormuz will be closed,” or that the incident will have economywide effects, he added.

Tom Essaye, founder of the Sevens Report Research, partly credited expectations for further economic supportive measures from China for the market’s gains.

“Chinese Vice Premier Hu called for more stimulus to help the economy, although no specifics were given,” he said.

Which stock were on the radar?

Shares of Tyson Foods Inc. TSN, +0.78%  rose 0.8% after the food company said it is introducing a new plant-based meat product under the Raised and Rooted brand. The decision will give Beyond Meat Inc. BYND, -0.41%  another competitor in this fast-growing market. Beyond Meat shares fell 0.4%.

Target Corp. TGT, +0.05% said it was raising its quarterly dividend by 3.1%, to 66 cents a share from 64 cents. Target shares edged up 0.1%.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU, +2.12% shares gained 2.1% after the apparel company specializing in yoga wear reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and sales Wednesday afternoon.

RH RH, +15.83% shares surged 16% after the retail chain reported stronger-than-expected earnings while issuing a strong full-year guidance and said it was avoiding issues related to new tariffs on Chinese imports.

DryShips Inc. DRYS, +22.78%  shares jumped 23% after the cargo-ship operator said it received a buyout offer from SPII Holdings Inc., a company controlled by DryShips’ Chairman and Chief Executive George Economou.

Shares of Walt Disney Co. DIS, +4.44%  climbed 4.4% after analysts at Morgan Stanley raised their price target on the stock to $160 from $135, projecting that the entertainment giant’s Disney+ streaming service could attract users more quickly than initially expected.

Shares of Fiverr International Ltd. FVRR, +90.00% skyrocketed 90% to $39.90 after the gig-economy software company made its public debut. Fiverr, which makes software that links freelancers with companies that need projects, had priced its shares at $21 for its initial public offering.

How were other markets trading?

Stocks in Asia closed mostly lower, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng IndexHSI, -0.85% declining 0.1% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -0.99% ticking up 0.1% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK, +0.40% fell 0.5%. In Europe, stocks were modestly higher with the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -0.39% edging up 0.2%.

Gold GCN19, +1.22% prices settled higher and the U.S. dollar DXY, +0.02% strengthened slightly against its peers.

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