Dow, US stocks rise as oil market starts to gain ground

Oil prices remain down as US stock futures hold steady

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Stan Choe, Associated Press
Published 7:30 a.m. ET April 22, 2020 | Updated 7:03 p.m. ET April 22, 2020

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USA TODAY

NEW YORK – Stocks around the world are clawing higher Wednesday, and the S&P 500 climbed toward its first gain of what’s been a dismal week.

Even the oil market gained ground. Prices for crude have been turned upside down because of how much extra oil is sloshing around after a collapse in demand. After zigzagging overnight, U.S. oil prices jumped more than 20% after President Donald Trump threatened the destruction of any Iranian gunboats that harass U.S. Navy ships, raising the possibility of a drop-off in oil supplies.

The S&P 500 rose 2.3% to 2,799.31, following milder gains in Europe and Asia. Treasury yields inched higher in a sign of a bit less pessimism in the market.

U.S. stocks are still down about 3% for the week as a rally that carried the market since late March threatens to lose steam.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 456.94 points, or 2%, to 23,475.82, and the Nasdaq was up 2.8%.

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Energy stocks led the market higher, riding the ripple of strengthening oil prices. Halliburton rose 10%, while Schlumberger and Apache each added 4% and 10%, respectively. All three remain down more than 60% for the year.

A barrel of U.S. oil to be delivered in June rose $2.86, or 24.7%, to $14.43. It had been close to flat earlier in the morning before Trump’s tweet. The big gain means it’s recovered a fraction of its steep losses this year, particularly over the past week. It was at nearly $30 at the start of last week and $60 at the beginning of the year.

Other companies that have been big losers during the coronavirus pandemic rose after offering slight hints of hope.

Chipotle Mexican Grill said a key sales figure plunged 16% in March on widespread stay-at-home orders. It hit a bottom during the week of March 29, down 35%, and has since improved a bit. Declines the past week were “in the high teens.” Its shares rose 12% Wednesday.

Stocks of companies that have been winners in the new stuck-at-home economy tell investors how much they’ve benefited.

Snap said the number of Snapchatters using its service each day jumped 20% in the first three months of the year – an average of more than 4 billion Snaps created each day. Revenue beat Wall Street’s expectations, and Snap shares jumped 23%.

The maker of Cottonelle toilet paper and Kleenex tissues jumped after it reported results for the first three months of the year. Kimberly-Clark said sales benefited as customers stocked up amid widespread stay-at-home orders, and its stock rose 3%.

The company retracted its financial forecasts for 2020, given how uncertain the global economy is during the COVID-19 outbreak, joining a lengthening line of companies doing so. It suspended its stock buyback program until at least the end of June.

The Senate approved a $483 billion proposal late Tuesday that would deliver more loans to small businesses and aid to hospitals. The House is likely to vote on it Thursday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 0.59% from 0.57% late Tuesday.

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