US stocks edged higher as rebounds in prices of oil sparked a gain in energy stocks and strong domestic data eased concerns over slowing growth in Europe.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 13 points or 0.1% to 17,699 while the S&P 500 gained 0.2% or four points to 2,053. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.5% or 23 points to 4,699.
A series of record highs have been hit by US stocks in the past weeks and this has been boosted by improving economic data, stimulus efforts in Japan and Europe and upbeat corporate earnings, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Energy stocks were the largest gainers on the S&P 500, climbing 0.8%. These gains were followed by rebounds in prices of crude oil, which has dropped rapidly since summer. Futures for crude oil climbed 1.2% to $75.38 per barrel.
Sandy Villere, portfolio manager at Villere & Co, said, “You can buy energy stocks, but they’d better be the very best.”
The US economy has also helped to support the stocks. The measure of manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic rose to the highest level since Dec 1993, climbing to 40.8 from 20.7 in November. Economists had forecast a drop to 18.0. Existing home sales made an unexpected jump of 1.5% in October with a slight drop of 0.1%.
CNBC quoted chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, Art Hogan as having said, “We’re getting a clear signal at the very least the US economic data continues to be stronger than the rest of the developed countries.”
The weakness overseas was seen as an opportunity by head of Chaikin Analytics, Marc Chaikin, who said, “I think the bottom line here is the US economy and stock market are the only place to put money.”
US consumer prices climbed 0.2% excluding volatile energy and food categories while jobless claims dropped to 291,000 by 2,000 for the week ended November 15.
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