(AP) — Gains for energy and internet companies helped drive stocks broadly higher Thursday, snapping a two-day losing streak for the market.
The gains were initially fueled by rising oil prices, which boosted energy companies following a suspected attack on two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Then a mix of media, internet and consumer-oriented companies took the lead in pushing every major index higher. Small company stocks rose more than the rest of the market.
Investors have been searching for direction as they cautiously await any new developments in the global trade war between the U.S. and China. Any continued escalations could crimp global economic growth and put the brakes on what is poised to be the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.
Anticipation of next week’s Federal Reserve meeting helped lift the market Thursday, said Jeff Zipper of U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management.
“You’ve got two competing forces here right now — the lingering issue of when is this trade tariff deal going to get resolved, and a more dovish Fed,” he said.
Last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell set off a market rally after he signaled that the central bank is willing to cut interest rates to help stabilize the economy if the trade war between Washington and Beijing starts to crimp growth.
The S&P 500 rose 11.80 points Thursday, or 0.4%, to 2,891.64. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 101.94 points, or 0.4%, to 26,106.77. The Nasdaq composite added 44.41 points, or 0.6%, to 7,837.13. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks climbed 16.01 points, or 1.1%, to 1,535.80.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.10% from 2.12% late Wednesday.
U.S. stock indexes rebounded early Thursday as oil prices surged on news of a suspected attack on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.
The incident comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran. One-third of all oil traded by sea, which amounts to 20% of all oil traded worldwide, passes through the strait. The U.S. blamed Iran in what it called a campaign of “escalating tensions.”
Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 2.2% to settle at $52.28 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, added 2.2% to close at $61.31 a barrel. Oil prices have previously been falling on signs that demand is declining.
Thursday’s surge in oil prices lifted shares of oil services companies and oil producers. Schlumberger gained 3.4%.
Wholesale gasoline rose 2% to $1.72 per gallon. Heating oil gained 1.5% to $1.81 per gallon. Natural gas fell 2.6% to $2.33 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Walt Disney gained 4.4%, leading a mix of media and internet companies higher. Shares in Google parent Alphabet rose 1.1%, and Facebook gained 1.4%.
Tapestry’s 3.9% gain led a mix of consumer-oriented stocks higher, including Macy’s, home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s, and homebuilders. Those companies caught an extra boost from the latest mortgage rate figures, which remain near historic lows.