By March 9, 2016 Read More →

Oil prices jump, US stocks rise, as earnings impress investors

Oil prices continue to climb from 13-year lows

Oil prices

Oil prices rose on Wednesday and a number of energy companies are rebounding from big drops on Tuesday.  Chevron photo.

NEW YORK _ Stocks are moving higher Wednesday on some strong earnings reports and a rise in crude oil prices. Energy companies are rebounding from big drops the day before.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average inched up 23 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 16,987 as of 3 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose eight points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,987. The Nasdaq composite increased 23 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 4,672.

FLYING HIGH: Air Transport Services jumped $2.27, or 19 per cent, to $14.04 after turning in solid results and saying it will operate an air transport network for Amazon.

CHOW WOW: Pet-food company Blue Buffalo Pet Products rose $4.96, or 27 per cent, $23.52 after posting strong earnings.

EATING OUT: Darden Restaurants rose $2.25, or 3.5 per cent, to $66.83. The parent company of Olive Garden forecast strong quarterly sales and a larger-than-expected profit.

FOOD TROUBLE: Chipotle Mexican Grill fell $15.19, or 3 per cent, to $509.50. The restaurant chain closed a Massachusetts store after a local health board said an employee there tested positive for norovirus. The agency also found two other suspected cases. None of the employees came to work. The closure follows a series of food scares that sickened customers at its restaurants around the country.

OIL BOOST: Crude oil continued its climb from 13-year lows earlier this year. A barrel of benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.79, or 5 per cent, to $38.29 a barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained $1.42, or 3.6 per cent, to $41.07 a barrel.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: The S&P 500 has tripled since bottoming out at 676.53 exactly seven years ago during the financial crisis. Stocks have been pushed up by higher corporate earnings, though not in the past year, and by the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented efforts to encourage investors to take more risk by lowering interest rates on bonds and other safer assets. The current bull market is the third-longest of 11 since World War II.

THE QUOTE: “Inflationary pressures are non-existent, and so easy money still rules,” said Chief Investment Officer Krishna Memani of Oppenheimer Funds, referring to central bank policies. “We believe this will be one of the longest economic expansions, and thus one the longest bull markets, we have experienced.”

ECB IN FOCUS: Investors expect the European Central Bank will announce more efforts to stimulate the 19-country eurozone at the end of its policy meeting on Thursday. Possible moves include another cut in the deposit rate for funds from commercial banks to even further below zero. The hope is that will get banks to lend more. The ECB also could increase its bond-buying program to pump more money into the economy.

EUROPE HIGHER: Germany’s DAX was up 0.3 per cent while the CAC-40 in France rose 0.5 per cent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.3 per cent. The three indexes each fell nearly 1 per cent the day before.

ASIAN MIX: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.8 per cent while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped 0.1 per cent.

COMMODITIES: Prices for industrial and precious metals ended mostly lower. Gold slipped $5.50 to $1,257.40 an ounce, silver fell two cents to $15.37 an ounce and copper gained one cent to $2.23 a pound. In energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 8.3 cents to $1.471 a gallon, heating oil rose 3.3 cents to $1.233 a gallon and natural gas rose four cents to $1.752 per 1,000 cubic feet.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.89 per cent from 1.83 per cent. The euro was flat at $1.1002. The dollar edged up to 113.36 yen from 112.61 yen.

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