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Benchmarks finished in the green on Thursday, boosted primarily by energy shares following a rise in U.S. oil prices which closed at a nearly one-month high. Investor kept a close watch on the outcome of the meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping. Meanwhile investors also remained focus on the upcoming nonfarm payrolls data, due on Friday.
For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.1% to close at 20,662.95. The S&P 500 rose 4.54 points or 0.2% to close at 2,357.49. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,878.95, gaining 0.3%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declined 3.9% to settle at 12.39. A total of around 3.2 billion shares were traded on Thursday in NYSE. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 73% stocks that advanced, 23% declined.
Investors kept a close watch on the two-day meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping which began on Thursday at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump is expected to begin talks with Xi Jinping over trade related issues, a slew of investment promises and other measures that are expected to reduce tensions between the two countries.
On the campaign trail, Trump had accused China of dumping exports and manipulating its currency which had a detrimental effect on the U.S., especially on domestic jobs. This had a negative impact on the impending relationship between the two heads of state, even before Trump assumed office.
The broader market suffered some losses after U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson commented about a possible international effort to remove Syrian President, Bashar Assad from power. The U.S. government has held the Syrian government accountable for a chemical attack which left many people dead, including children. Though the U.S. government has not provided details about a possible response from its military forces, the statement had an adverse impact on the investor confidence.
Investors also remained focused on upcoming corporate results and nonfarm payrolls data, scheduled to be released on Friday. The U.S. labor market got off to an impressive start in first two months of this year. The economy added 238,000 people in January followed by another 235,000 people in February. Data on jobless claims released on Thursday showed that number of applications for unemployment benefits by Americans last week fell by 25,000 to 234,000, the second-lowest level for the current economic expansion.
Oil prices ended at a near one-month high on Thursday, following expectations that U.S. refinery activity will increase, which will diminish the buildup in crude inventories. However, investors remain wary of record-high U.S. crude inventories which led them to remain cautious. On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an increase of 1.57 million barrels in crude inventories. WTI crude pricesrose 55 cents, or 1.1%, to $51.70 a barrel. The rise in oil prices made a positive impact on the energy shares which outperformed all other major sectors of S&P 500.
The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) rose 0.8%. Some of its key holding, including Halliburton Company HAL and EOG Resources EOG both gained by 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Stocks that made Headlines
Sprint Unlimited Data to Cost Less: Will Investors Gain?
U.S. national wireless carrier Sprint Corp. S is sure to leave a mark on the booming wireless industry. (Read More)
Comcast Unveils Wireless Plan: Competition to Intensify
Yesterday, Comcast Corp. CMCSA, the largest cable MSO (multi service operator) and media giant, declared plans for its much-hyped wireless venture. (Read More)
Sunoco Inks $3.3B Deal with 7-Eleven to Divest 1100 Stores
Downstream petroleum distributor Sunoco LP SUN recently signed a deal with 7- Eleven, a subsidiary of Japan-based retail conglomerate Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd. (Read More)
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