Stocks generally moved higher Thursday as a jump in the price of oil and relatively good earnings attracted buyers.
Crude futures rose 0.7% to $50.79 a barrel and pulled energy stocks up 1.6%. The major indices were the chief beneficiaries of this since the energy sector makes up a large percentage of their holdings. The S&P 500 rose 0.5%, and the Dow industrials were up 0.3%.
However, trading volume was the 11th lowest of the year as investors held back before the bulk of earnings next week. Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) reported better-than-expected earnings after the bell on Wednesday but missed on the revenue front, and the stock fell 3.4% Thursday. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ:BBBY) fell 5.4% after reporting a 3.7% decline in fiscal fourth-quarter profits and revenue that missed Wall Street’s estimates.
Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) rose 0.8% after beating expectations and declaring its first quarterly dividend. Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA) jumped 5.6% on a 35.5% year-over-year sales increase in its fiscal second quarter.
Health care stocks continued their outperformance, gaining 0.8%. The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology Index (ETF) (NASDAQ:IBB) rose 0.3%.
Gold futures for June delivery fell 0.8% to close at $1,193.60 an ounce. And the euro fell to $1.07, down slightly from Wednesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.96% from 1.90% the day before.
At Thursday’s close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 56 points to 17,959, the S&P 500 gained 9 points at 2,091, the Nasdaq rose 24 points to 4,975, and the Russell 2000 fell 4 points to 1,259.
The NYSE’s primary market traded just 6 million shares with total volume of 3.2 billion. The Nasdaq crossed 1.7 billion shares. On the Big Board, there were slightly more advancers than decliners, while on the Nasdaq decliners were slightly ahead.
The iShares Russell 2000 Index (ETF) (NYSEARCA:IWM) was acting well until it ran into $126 where it reversed on Thursday. Technically this was a “key reversal” in that the high of the day was higher than the prior intraday high, but it closed lower. This is a minor reversal and could take IWM down to support at $122, its 50-day moving average.
Thursday was a “no runs, no hits, no errors” day for the market. It was, however, a relief to see an upward reversal from the energy stocks. Let’s hope that it sticks. The actual reversal was 10 to 15 days ago, and Thursday’s strength, even if on mediocre volume, appears to confirm the turn higher. Check out the Trade of the Day for a stock that represents this turn.
Today’s Trading Landscape
To see a list of the companies reporting earnings today, click here.
For a list of this week’s economic reports due out, click here.