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Stocks rise, building on Tuesday’s gains; oil slumps

Markets Open Monday Morning As Fears Of Trade Wars Continue
Traders and financial professionals work at the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on June 3.
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

Stocks rose on Wall Street for the second straight day Wednesday, extending Tuesday’s strong gains as investors bet an interest-rate cut could be ahead.

Technology, industrial and healthcare companies accounted for much of the broad gains, which were tempered by a slide in energy stocks after a 3.4% plunge in the price of U.S. crude oil.

Traders shrugged off a report showing that last month, private U.S. companies added the fewest jobs in nine years. The bleak jobs snapshot may have been welcomed by investors hoping it could help persuade the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates.

“It could help underpin a Fed rate cut,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “The market has been in essence calling for a rate cut for a number of months as the economic data have waned and tariff issues have intensified.”

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The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 22.88 points, or 0.8%, to 2,826.15. Its 2.1% gain Tuesday was its best performance since January.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 207.39 points, or 0.8%, to 25,539.57. The Nasdaq composite rose 48.36 points, or 0.6%, to 7,575.48. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slipped 1.77 points, or 0.1%, to 1,506.79.

Bond prices rose, pulling down yields on the 10-year Treasury note to 2.12% from Tuesday’s 2.13%.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell said Tuesday that the U.S. central bank was “closely monitoring” developments in the nation’s multiple trade conflicts and would “act as appropriate” to sustain the nation’s economic expansion.

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Investors now expect the Fed to cut interest rates at least once and possibly twice before year’s end, in part because of fallout from the trade war.

Stocks slumped in May as investors grew anxious over the trade disputes. An escalating U.S.-China trade war and the added threat of a new U.S.-Mexico trade war sent investors fleeing to safer holdings such as bonds.

The United States and Mexico were holding trade talks in Washington on Wednesday afternoon. A 5% tariff on imports from Mexico, which could affect U.S. companies making products such as cars, beer and tacos, is set to go into effect Monday unless the two nations reach an agreement. The Trump administration is demanding that Mexico step up efforts to halt Central American migrants from making their way to the United States.

Oil prices slumped after a report showed an unexpected surge in U.S. crude supplies. Benchmark U.S. crude sank 3.4% to $51.68 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, slid 2.2% to $60.63 a barrel.

U.S. crude has fallen in five of the last six weeks amid signs that China’s economic growth is slowing. It’s now 22.1% below its 2019 closing high of $66.30 in April. That slide of more than 20% from a recent high puts U.S. crude in what Wall Street calls a bear market.

“Oil is lagging, and it has to do with the perception that demand is down,” Krosby said. “Couple that with supply growing, and the equation is not positive for the price of oil.”

Occidental Petroleum shares dropped 4.6%. Halliburton slid 3.5%.

Technology companies were among the most notable gainers Wednesday. Apple rose 1.6%. Microsoft gained 2.2%. Salesforce climbed 5.1% after blowing away profit forecasts.

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Traders also snapped up healthcare stocks. Boston Scientific climbed 2.5%. Medtronic climbed 2.3%.

Industrial stocks rose broadly, with airlines making notable gains as fuel costs fell. American Airlines Group advanced 4.3%. Southwest Airlines rose 2.6%.

A trickle of corporate earnings reports moved several stocks.

Campbell Soup jumped 10% after the maker of Pepperidge Farm cookies and V8 juice swung to a fiscal-third-quarter profit and beat Wall Street forecasts. It also beat revenue forecasts for the quarter and said sales growth was fueled by its snacks business.

GameStop plummeted 35.5% after the video game retailer badly missed first-quarter sales estimates and eliminated its quarterly dividend. The company is in the midst of a cost-cutting program and coming off a management shake-up. The stock is now down 60.1% for the year.

Pivotal Software nosedived 41.3% after the cloud-computing company slashed its revenue forecast for the year.

Uber rose above its $45 initial public offering price for the first time, lifted by encouraging reports released by financial firms that helped underwrite the IPO. The ride-hailing giant’s shares climbed as high as $45.66 before giving back some of those gains; they closed at $45, up 5.3%.

Wholesale gasoline fell 1.8% to $1.69 a gallon. Heating oil dropped 2.3% to $1.78 a gallon. Natural gas slid 1.6% to $2.38 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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Gold rose 0.4% to $1,333.60 an ounce. Silver edged up 0.1% to $14.79 an ounce. Copper fell 1.7% to $2.62 a pound.

The dollar rose to 108.42 yen from 108.07 yen. The euro weakened to $1.1228 from $1.1258.


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