Energy leads Wall Street higher, but airlines weigh

By @ibtimes on

Energy shares led U.S. stocks to modest gains on Tuesday as crude prices jumped, but consumer-related and transportation shares limited the rise.

Stocks pared gains on stronger-than-expected profits and outlooks after the first day of quarterly earnings reports.

U.S. crude futures settled 2 percent higher at $91.11 per barrel after new production snags added to supply concerns even as the Trans Alaska Pipeline remained shut, idling 12 percent of U.S. oil production.

Chevron , up 1.4 percent at $91.70, gave the Dow industrials the biggest lift.

There's a big feeling were going to have $100 barrel oil pretty quickly, said Shawn Hackett, president at Hackett Advisors in Boynton Beach, Florida.

He said that is clearly bullish for the sector, but oil above $90 a barrel could take disposable income away from the economy and could hurt demand.

Airline shares were hit by the rise in crude, with the NYSE Arca airline index <.XAL> off 1.5 percent and the Dow Jones transport average <.DJT> lost 1 percent after hitting its highest in more than two years on Monday. The S&P retail index <.RLX> dipped 0.3 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 23.31 points, or 0.20 percent, to 11,660.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 <.SPX> rose 2.76 points, or 0.22 percent, to 1,272.51. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> gained 4.87 points, or 0.18 percent, to 2,712.67.

Among companies reporting fourth-quarter results higher than expected was homebuilder Lennar Corp , which gained 7.4 percent to $20.30.

The PHLX Housing sector index <.HGX> gained 1.5 percent.

Stocks have rallied in recent weeks on optimism about profits, but the S&P 500 ended down the past three sessions, leading some analysts to question the rally's durability.

When you see a market going up in the morning and pulling back later in the day, it's saying there's some distribution going on, and at some point it may lead to a well overdue correction, Hackett said.

Retailers were also hit as women's clothier Talbots Inc shares tumbled 18.8 percent to $6.15 after it forecast a much bigger-than-expected quarterly loss.

Leading declines on the Dow, Verizon Communications Inc fell 1.8 percent to $35.27 after Verizon Wireless announced it will begin selling a version of Apple Inc's iPhone. The news was expected, and Verizon had risen more than 11 percent in the past six weeks.

Short-term technical resistance for the benchmark is seen round 1,280 while the area between 1,265 and 1,260 provides support.

Sears Holding Corp rose 6.3 percent to $75.02 after the store chain raised its profit outlook above Wall Street estimates, citing strong sales.

Alcoa Inc posted a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street's expectations, though revenue slightly missed the analysts' average estimate. The aluminum maker's shares fell 1.2 percent to $16.29.

MBIA Inc rose 13.4 percent to $13.92, a level not seen since 2008, after a divided New York appeals court handed the bond insurer a crucial win in the legal battle over its restructuring plan.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; additional reporting by Alina Selyukh; Editing by Kenneth Barry)

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