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Energy sector leads US stocks gains amid Syria jitters

29 august 2013, 18:05
0
US stocks rebounded Wednesday led by energy companies benefiting from an oil price spike, as the West mulls a possible punitive attack against Syria for its alleged chemical weapons use, AFP reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 48.38 points (0.33 percent) to 14,824.51.

The broad-market S&P 500 climbed 4.48 (0.27 percent) to 1,634.96, while the tech-rich Nasdaq was the biggest gainer, up 14.83 (0.41 percent) at 3,593.35.

Stocks pulled back from Tuesday's sharp selloff that came after the United States, France and Britain stepped up warnings that Damascus would be held accountable for the deadly August 21 attack using chemical weapons.

Crude oil prices surged higher in anticipation of a possible impact on energy supplies from a US military intervention, pushing the US benchmark WTI contract to $110.10 a barrel, its highest close since May 2011.

On the Dow, Chevron jumped 2.5 percent and ExxonMobil added 2.3 percent. Marathon Oil raced up 3.7 percent.

Investors shrugged off a disappointing report on the US housing recovery.

US pending home sales dropped unexpectedly in July, by 1.3 percent from June, according to the National Association of Realtors. It was the second straight monthly decline as higher mortgage interest rates hit demand.

Technology stocks were in focus. Dow member Hewlett-Packard gained 2.8 percent, and Nasdaq heavyweight Apple added 0.5 percent.

Groupon jumped 1.5 percent after chief executive Eric Lefkofsky told The Wall Street Journal the coupon-dealer and e-retailer is planning a North American warehouse network for its physical goods business, taking it into more direct competition with Amazon.com.

Amazon rose 0.2 percent and smaller online retailer Overstock.com fell 0.4 percent.

TiVo, the digital video recording pioneer, soared 5.7 percent after reporting solid second-quarter earnings.

Bank of America edged up 0.1 percent. The parent of brokerage Merrill Lynch will pay $160 million to settle charges it discriminated against African-American employees, lawyers for the employees told AFP Wednesday.

The bond market fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose to 2.78 percent from 2.72 percent late Tuesday, while the 30-year yield increased to 3.75 percent from 3.70 percent. Prices and yields move inversely.

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