Wall Street closed a quiet session with a moderate advance Thursday, with energy and other commodities companies leading the market as oil...
NEW YORK — Wall Street closed a quiet session with a moderate advance Thursday, with energy and other commodities companies leading the market as oil prices extended their record-breaking run.
The price of crude oil swept past $124 a barrel in late New York Mercantile Exchange trading, while gasoline rose to a record of its own at the pump, climbing to a national average of nearly $3.65 a gallon.
The Dow gained 52.43 points to end at 12,866.78.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 5.11 points to 1,397.68, and the Nasdaq composite index rose 12.75 points to 2,451.24.
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Microsoft, one of the 30 Dow stocks, added 6 cents to end at $29.27. Boeing, another Dow stock, gained 21 cents to close at $84.76.
Although the rising price of oil ignited concerns about inflation on Wednesday, knocking the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 200 points, stocks managed to hold on to their gains even as oil rose Thursday.
Some of the big gainers were the companies that would benefit the most from higher commodities prices — oil companies and metals producers like Alcoa.
Mixed economic readings and lofty energy prices could keep the market in a holding pattern through the summer, said Janna Sampson, director of portfolio management at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Ill. “With oil high and continuing to go up, it’s going to be tough to get the market to have a sustainable rally.”
Alfred E. Goldman, chief market strategist at Wachovia Securities, was a bit more optimistic, saying he estimates the economy is four months away from the end of an average-length recession, so the stock market should resume its climb again soon.
“Basically, the market is taking a timeout after the prior six weeks,” Goldman said.
The Labor Department said Thursday the number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 18,000 last week to 365,000 — a larger decline than expected.