After a string of losses that stretched over seven consecutive sessions, the Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute (INDEXDJX:.DJI) took a turn higher on Wednesday as rising oil and the corresponding iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return (NYSEARCA:OIL) prices lifted U.S. equities. All the three major U.S. stock indexes closed higher on Wednesday.
The blue-chip index Dow rose 0.2% after adding 41.23 points to close at 18355.00. After a series of record closings last month, the Dow quickly reversed and was on track to entering its eighth consecutive session loss.
The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.3% after adding 6.76 points to close at 2163.79. The gain in the broader index was largely supported by rising energy and financial stocks. Energy shares in the S&P 500 edged up 1.8%, thus becoming the biggest gainer of the index’s sectors. Financial stocks were the second-biggest gainers on the S&P 500.
American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) was among the stocks that led financials in the S&P 600 higher. The global insurer reported that its net income rose in the second quarter.
The NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) gained 0.4% after adding 22.00 points to close at 5159.74.
U.S. crude oil prices tick up
Data that showed U.S. gasoline inventory dropped beyond expectations lifted the price of U.S. crude oil, which was back up above $40 a barrel for a rise of 3.3%. Previous data had raised alarm as it showed that U.S. crude oil and gasoline stockpiles were rising, sparking fears that another round of oversupply was in the making.
But the decline in U.S. gasoline inventory show has offered hope that the economy is picking up pace. However, investors are still keeping their eyes on other U.S. economic data such as employment and housing numbers for clues on the possible pathway for interest rate hikes, if any will be made.
When Federal Reserve officials met last month, they hinted that a rate increase could be near as they talked about near-term economic risks having diminished. But the Fed fell short of saying when exactly it would act to raise lending rates if at all it plans to do so this year. That left investors speculating that the central bank was waiting to assess the quality of U.S. economic data in the coming months before it acts.