U.S. stocks are broadly higher Thursday after a sharp drop late in the previous day. Energy companies are rising with the price of oil and retailers are up after a series of strong sales reports. Banks are also climbing as bond yields rise.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,361 as of 1:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 75 points, or 0.4 percent, to 20,723. The Nasdaq composite gained 19 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,883. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks moved ahead of the rest of the market. It rose 10 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,362.
Stocks are mostly down this week, and smaller companies have suffered the most. They’re down 1.7 percent.
THE QUOTE: Stocks sank late Wednesday after the Federal Reserve disclosed the minutes from its March meeting. The Fed is said it may stop buying new bonds later this year and its policymakers were grappling with whether it would be safe to let inflation rise faster.
Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist for U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said investors are feeling uncertain, and that may hold true for at least a few weeks. In his view the sell-off wasn’t just because of the Fed. After a weak auto sales report on Monday, he said investors are wondering how fast the economy is growing and what that will mean for company earnings.
“We expect volatility to be higher than what we experienced in the first quarter,” he said.
That will gradually change with jobs data set to be released due Friday, retail sales next week and company earnings reports starting soon.
ENERGY: U.S. crude oil added 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $51.71 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, the international standard, rose 56 cents, or 1 percent, to $54.92 a barrel in London. That helped energy companies trade higher.
RETAIL RALLY: A number of retailers traded higher. Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands jumped $4.35, or 10.1 percent, to $47.45 and Costco picked up $3.31, or 2 percent, to $170.31 after they reported their March sales. Bed Bath & Beyond surpassed analysts’ earnings estimates and climbed $1.08, or 2.9 percent, to $38.88. Retail stocks have been hit hard for months as shoppers spend more money online and less at stores, especially ones based in malls.
BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.35 percent from 2.34 percent. Banks traded higher, with Wells Fargo up 46 cents to $55.44 and Lincoln National gaining $1.48, or 2.3 percent, to $65.73.
Banks fell hard on Wednesday as investors snapped up bonds following the release of minutes from the Fed’s policy meeting. With investors buying bonds at a rapid clip, prices rose and yields fell, which reduces the profits banks make from lending.
Companies that pay big dividends, like phone companies and utilities, traded lower. Investors often sell those stocks when bond yields rise.
REFRESHING: Wine, liquor and beer maker Constellation Brands jumped after it reported a larger profit and better sales than analysts expected. The company said its beer business, which includes Corona and Modelo, had a strong quarter. Its stock gained $10.53, or 6.5 percent, to $171.93.
COMEBACK: Yum China Holdings jumped $2.93, or 10.4 percent, to $31.11 after it announced strong quarterly results. The company is recovering from a series of food safety problems and it said its sales are improving.
ANY IMPULSE PURCHASES? Sunoco climbed after it agreed to sell most of its convenience stores to 7-Eleven. Sunoco will get $3.3 billion and 7-Eleven will acquire 1,100 stores, mostly in the East Coast and Texas. Shares of Sunoco jumped $3.89, or 16.3 percent, to $27.75.
UNILEVER PLANS CHANGES: Consumer products giant Unilever said it will shake up its business after it rejected a $143 billion takeover effort from Kraft Heinz. The company plans to sell its spreads business, combine its food and refreshment divisions, and return more than $5 billion to investors by buying back stock and raising its dividend. Its shares gained 42 cents to $49.54.
US-CHINA: Trade and North Korea are set to top the agenda as President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet Thursday and Friday. Traders will be monitoring how these key issues are dealt with and whether recent tensions are alleviated.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.087 yen from 110.86 yen. The euro fell to $1.0650 from $1.0667.
OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 jumped 0.6 percent and the FTSE 100 index in Britain fell 0.4 percent. Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent. In Japan the benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 1.4 percent, and the Kospi of South Korea lost 0.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent.
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