Stocks Rise as Energy Gains Offset Drop in Banks
The gains came a day after strong profit reports from JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Intel Corp. vaulted the Dow Jones industrials above the 10,000 level for the first time in a year. The Dow tacked on another 47 points.
Stocks spent most of the day lower but rallied in the final 15 minutes of trading ahead of quarterly reports from Google Inc., IBM Corp. and chip maker Advanced Micro Devices that arrived after the closing bell. All three topped expectations and could help the market extend its gains if reports due early Friday from General Electric Co. and Bank of America Corp. aren't spoilers.
Analysts say the market's late bounce signals investors are still looking to get into the market.
"People are trying to buy on the dips," said Andrew Neale, partner and portfolio manager at Fogel Neale Partners in New York. "There is so much money waiting on the sidelines."
A rise in oil prices to their highest level in a year lifted energy stocks and, in turn, the overall market. Gains in companies like refiner Tesoro Corp. and Chevron Corp. helped offset losses in financial stocks after earnings from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. disappointed investors.
JPMorgan helped set a high bar for bank earnings, and investors didn't like as much what they heard from rivals Goldman and Citi. Goldman's net income of $3.19 billion beat expectations on strong trading profits, but investment banking revenues fell. Citigroup reported a smaller loss than expected but said credit losses remain high.
Investors drew some comfort from a government report that new unemployment claims fell more than expected last week.
"Things are going in the right direction but the fundamental economic improvement is slow," said Robert Dye, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group.
The day's modest moves weren't unexpected. Seeing the Dow Jones industrials at five digits for the first time in a year could spook some traders who worry that stocks have been too quick to rebound. Others say that skepticism is a signal that the market will continue to defy expectations and advance.
The Dow rose 47.08, or 0.5 percent, to 10,062.94, its highest close since Oct. 3 last year. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.54, or 0.4 percent, to 1,096.56. The Nasdaq composite index rose 1.06, or 0.1 percent, to 2,173.29.
Advancing stocks narrowly outpaced those that fell on the New York Stock Exchange, where consolidated volume came to 5.4 billion shares, in line with Wednesday.
Since March, the Dow has jumped 53.7 percent, while the S&P 500 index is up 62.1 percent and the Nasdaq is up 71.3 percent.
Crude oil rose $2.40 to settle at $77.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after the government said refiners cut production last week.
That lifted energy stocks. Tesoro advanced $1.25, or 8.6 percent, to $15.83, while Chevron rose $1.23, or 1.6 percent, to $76.69.
Bob Brown, chief investment officer at Northern Trust in Chicago, said rising oil could trip up a recovery in the economy if it continues.
"Whenever oil goes up two-and-a-half bucks we can't have too many days like that before start to worry," he said.
The Labor Department said the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment insurance fell to its lowest level since January. First-time claims for jobless benefits dropped to 514,000, better than the 525,000 economists were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters.
Bond prices slipped as the economic reports signaled improvement in the economy. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.46 percent from 3.42 percent late Wednesday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slipped 0.60, or 0.1 percent, to 623.34.
Overseas, Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.6 percent, Germany's DAX index lost 0.4 percent, and France's CAC-40 rose less than 0.1 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock average jumped 1.8 percent.