Investors put aside concerns about rising oil prices yesterday, helping the market to a late-day rally focused on generally positive economic...
NEW YORK — Investors put aside concerns about rising oil prices yesterday, helping the market to a late-day rally focused on generally positive economic news.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 91.48 at 10,685.89, after giving up a triple-digit advance Wednesday and closing down 21.
Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, gained 32 cents to close at $27.27 a share. Boeing, also a Dow stock, soared $1.35 to $67.31, a 52-week high.
Broader stock indicators also closed higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 8.68 to 1,237.81, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 16.74 to 2,174.55.
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The major stock indexes gained ground during the final two hours of the trading session, even after the price of oil momentarily crossed $66 a barrel. It finished at a record high close of $65.80 a barrel, up 90 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
“I think in the end people want to be bullish,” said Doug Sandler, chief equity strategist at Wachovia Securities in Richmond, Va. “Some of that is a trend building on a trend — the market starts to go one way and everybody seems to jump on it.”
But the ups and downs in stock prices seen yesterday, following a sell-off Wednesday, reflect persistent worries by investors that, despite strong corporate earnings and upbeat economic reports, oil prices will eventually exact a toll.
The market showed yesterday it is still torn between concerns that more expensive oil will inevitably hurt consumer spending and corporate profits and evidence that the economy is coping well with higher crude.
Investors were also parsing new data from the Commerce Department showing retail sales rose 1.8 percent in July, less than analysts expected. The increase came despite weak demand at department stores. Almost all the increase derived from auto sales, which jumped 6.7 percent. Excluding autos, retail sales rose just 0.3 percent, half the gain forecast by economists.
Also yesterday, the Labor Department said the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits declined last week by 6,000 — the first drop in three weeks — to 308,000.
In another Commerce Department report yesterday, inventories held by businesses on shelves and backlots were unchanged in June, marking the first time inventory levels failed to increase in nine months. That effort subtracted significantly from overall economic growth in the second quarter but set the stage for much stronger growth in coming months.