Markets Right Now: Energy stocks lead indexes higher

Evrard Martin
Mai 17, 2017

MISSILE LAUNCH: North Korea said Monday the missile it launched early Sunday was a new type of "medium long-range" ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead. The S&P 500 was up 12.54 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 2,403.44 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 30.37 points, or 0.50 per cent, at 6,151.61.

OIL SPURT: Crude jumped on expectations that the global oil glut may ease. Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.01, or 2.1 percent, to settle at $48.85 per barrel. It's close to topping the $50 level for the first time in almost three weeks.

Crude futures were up more than 3% in intraday trade after Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia agreed to extend production cuts until March of next year to drain excess supply from the market. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, was up 9 cents at $51.91 a barrel in London. The Nasdaq composite index was up 11 points, or 0.2 percent, at 6,160.

Wall Street finished mixed on Tuesday as the Nasdaq reached a new record for the second day in a row.

The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks rose 0.76 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,394.68. Generally, it moves opposite to stocks' movements-it rises when the S&P 500 falls.

On the corporate front, cyber security firms were in demand after the "WannaCr" ransomware attack that hit last Friday, with Symantec, Palo Alto Networks and FireEye all in the black.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Monday.

Investors seemed to mostly shrug off fears from a successful missile test by North Korea and a cyberattack that disrupted operations at auto factories, hospitals, shops and schools. Profits have been rallying not only in the United States but also in Europe and other areas that have been struggling for years.

TOO PLACID? The recent run of calmness is a sharp turnaround from the start of a year ago, when twitchy investors were quick to sell on worries about the strength of the global economy.

"The economic data that we've seen today is sort of what we've seen the last few weeks, some good, some bad", said Jim Davis, regional investment strategist at the Private Client Group at U.S. Bank. Besides the uncertainty about what will happen on the Korean peninsula or in Washington, upcoming elections in the UK, France and potentially Italy could also upset what has become a lazy ride for markets. Thermo Fisher rose 0.4 per cent. The stock climbed $2.41, or 21.3 percent, to $13.73.

In Europe the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with an increase of less than 0.1 percent from the previous close. Heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.52 per gallon, while wholesale gasoline added 1 cent to $1.60 per gallon. The sector rose 0.5 per cent, with an outsized boost from Microsoft, which rose 2 per cent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 113.52 yen from Monday's 113.68 yen. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.33%. The S&P/ASX 200 Index closed 1.5 points higher to 5,838.

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