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June 13, 2019, 4:21 p.m. EDT

Stocks close higher as energy sector rallies on oil-price spike

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude jumps more than 2%

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By Sue Chang and Chris Matthews, MarketWatch

AFP/Getty Images
Fire and smoke billow from the Norwegian-owned Front Altair tanker, which was reportedly attacked in the Gulf of Oman.

U.S. stocks closed higher Thursday, following back-to-back losses for major indexes, as investors monitored a sharp jump in oil futures after two oil tankers were damaged in suspected attacks off the coast of Iran.

How did major indexes fare?

Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -1.69%   rose 101.94 points, or 0.4%, to 26,106.77, and the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.51%  added 11.80 points, or 0.4%, to 2,891.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP -1.53%  gained 44.41 points, or 0.6%, to 7,837.13.

What drove the market?

Oil futures surged after reports about attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, near the Strait of Hormuz, with the U.S. Navy rushing to assist the vessels. Brent crude  and U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude both jumped sharply.

Read: Strait of Hormuz in spotlight after oil tankers attacked near world’s most sensitive crude chokepoint

Energy stocks were among the S&P 500’s top performers, with the sector up 1.3%.

Analysts continue to point to developments around U.S.-China tensions as a risk for global equities. Investors might have found some relief in remarks by President Donald Trump late Wednesday. Trump told reporters that he doesn’t have a deadline for imposing additional tariffs on Chinese goods.

“My deadline is what’s up here,” Trump said, pointing to his head, adding he had a “feeling” a deal could be reached.

The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits in the week ended June 8 rose to 222,000 from 219,000 a week earlier. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast 218,000.

The cost of imported goods fell 0.3% last month, the Labor Department said Thursday.

What were analysts saying?

“The market seems to be ignoring China trade and geopolitical issues and focusing on the strong economy, rising productivity and low unemployment,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist of U.S. equity strategy at CFRA, told MarketWatch.

The oil-tanker attacks “are affecting oil prices,” and energy-related stocks, “but the market doesn’t think the Strait of Hormuz will be closed,” or that the incident will have economywide effects, he added.

Tom Essaye, founder of the Sevens Report Research, partly credited expectations for further economic supportive measures from China for the market’s gains.

US : Dow Jones Global
-360.91 -1.69%
Volume: 451.62M
April 3, 2020 5:10p
-38.25 -1.51%
Volume: 3.59B
April 3, 2020 5:10p
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
-114.23 -1.53%
Volume: 2.88M
April 3, 2020 5:16p
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