Stocks managed modest gains yesterday as investors saw a series of corporate acquisitions as a chance to pick up bargains in an otherwise...
NEW YORK — Stocks managed modest gains yesterday as investors saw a series of corporate acquisitions as a chance to pick up bargains in an otherwise difficult market. Another record high for oil prices muted the gains.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15.76 to 10,450.63.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, gained 22 cents to close at $27.03 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, added 8 cents to $67.21.
Broader stock indicators also closed slightly higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 2.78 to 1,212.37, and the Nasdaq composite index climbed 5.46 to 2,134.37.
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Oil again weighed on investors. Crude futures reached $68 per barrel overnight and settled at a record high for a second straight session — feeding Wall Street’s chronic concerns about a slowdown in consumer spending and economic growth. A barrel of light crude settled at $67.49, up 17 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
“Oil prices at these levels are providing all kinds of dislocation issues for stocks,” said Joseph Battipaglia, chief investment officer at Ryan Beck. “Earnings and the economic data are OK, but with oil where it is, the market is unable to make a decision, long or short, and there’s certainly no real catalyst for buying.”
However, a drop in unemployment claims helped spur buying. The Labor Department reported that first-time jobless claims dropped by 4,000 to 315,000 last week, and that the four-week average of claims fell to its lowest level in four years.
And General Electric’s $1.6 billion investment in a Turkish bank and Johnson Controls’ takeover of York International assured investors that corporate America is still willing to spend money to expand, even in uncertain economic times.
GE’s purchase of a 25.5 percent share in Garanti Bank, Turkey’s third-largest privately owned bank, was seen as a positive as the company expands its consumer-finance business overseas. However, rising oil prices pressured industrial stocks, and General Electric fell 4 cents to $33.50.
York International surged 36 percent, or $15.04, to $56.79 after Johnson Controls announced a $2.4 billion, or $56.50 per share, cash buyout of the company, which would double Johnson’s presence in building heating and air-conditioning markets. Johnson Controls, which will also assume $800 million in York debt, climbed $2.76 to $59.53.