Energy, financials push Wall Street higher; tech weighs

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(Reuters) – Energy and bank stocks led the S&P and Dow higher on Friday, though a decline in technology shares capped gains and pushed the Nasdaq slightly lower.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 19, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The benchmark Brent crude jumped 1.9 percent to $74.48 a barrel, following three days of declines, after OPEC agreed on Friday to raise production by around 1 million barrels per day from July for the group and its allies, according to a source. [O/R]

Exxon Mobil rose 2.1 percent and Chevron gained 3 percent providing the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and the Dow. The S&P energy index was up 2.9 percent.

A recent rally in oil prices due to an OPEC decision to restrict supply in an effort to drain global inventories, has helped S&P energy be the best performing S&P sector in the last three months.

The OPEC meeting in Vienna comes amid calls to cool down the price of crude and prevent an oil deficit that would hurt the global economy.

“The market wants some sort of positive commentary out of OPEC … less uncertainty about the OPEC is always a good thing,” said Michael Antonelli, managing director, institutional sales trading at Robert W. Baird in Milwaukee.

“Above $75 people really start to complain about oil impacting the consumer or companies.”

At 10:08 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 172.96 points, or 0.71 percent, at 24,634.66, the S&P 500 was up 11.78 points, or 0.43 percent, at 2,761.54 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 5.94 points, or 0.08 percent, at 7,707.01.

The gains were broad-based with 10 of the 11 main S&P sectors trading in the positive.

The S&P financial sector was up 0.6 percent as major U.S. banks gained after clearing the Federal Reserve’s first stage of an annual regulatory stress test.

Technology stocks, which have protected the Nasdaq from a more crippling damage from trade concerns this week, were trading lower.

Leading the decliners among tech was open source software provider Red Hat Inc, which slumped 12.2 percent after its current-quarter and full-year revenue missed analyst expectations due to a strengthening dollar.

Microsoft’s 1.2 percent decline and Facebook’s 0.6 percent fall also weighed.

There were no new developments in the China-U.S. trade rhetoric after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports on Monday and Beijing vowed to retaliate.

The trade spat has pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the red for the past eight sessions and put it on track for its worst weekly performance in 13 weeks.

If the Dow fails to hold on to its gains, it would be the longest losing streak for the index in over 40 years. The 30-stock average has closed lower in the past eight sessions.

Friday also marks what would likely be the biggest trading day of the year as a Russell rebalance takes effect at markets close.

A reconstitution of the Russell 1000 large cap and Russell 2000 small cap prompts fund managers to adjust their portfolios to reflect new weightings.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.93-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.52-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 15 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 48 new highs and 17 new lows.

Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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