Investing - Stocks finished higher Thursday despite worries about Middle East tensions after two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.
The averages were all higher, with the Dow up as many as 142 points, when the potential for disruption of crucial Middle East oil supplies seemed to creep into investors' thinking. That trimmed the early gains by half or more. A very late bout of buying boosted the averages at the close, with the Dow rising 40 points in the last nine minutes of the regular session.
The rally was supported by lower interest rates. The 10-Year yield fell to 2.098%.
Airlines had a strong day, thanks to an upgrade for American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), up 6.4%, and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) moved up 4.4% because of a Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) report extolling the potential of Disney's streaming service, due to launch in November.
American Airlines was the top-gaining S&P 500 stock because it was able to boost fares last month, and the increases have stuck while fuel prices have moved lower in the last month. Disney, third-best among S&P 500 stocks, was the top percentage and point gainer among the 30 Dow stocks.
Energy was the market's leading sector on the day, thanks to rebounding oil prices, the product of renewed unease in the Middle East. WTI futures rose 2.23% to $52.28 after falling about 4% on Wednesday. Brent futures rose $1.34 to $61.31.
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) rose modestly. But such stocks as Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB), Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) and offshore boat company Tidewater (NYSE:TDW) rose 2% or more.
Prices rose after attacks on two tankers sailing through the Straight of Oman. The United States said Iran was the aggressor, though that could not be confirmed. There have been two other tanker attacks in the Persian Gulf, through which about 20% of the world's oil flows.
Big tech stocks were mostly higher, led by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC). Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), with the biggest market caps, saw small gains. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) dipped slightly
Winners and Losers in the S&P 500
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