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Stocks edge up after 3 days of losses

Stocks edge up after 3 days of losses

Energy and materials stocks rose in morning trading Wednesday as prices for oil and other commodities rose. The gains were limited after retailers reported mixed results.
Oil prices rose 3 percent to $99 a barrel because of a weaker dollar and signs that U.S. demand might be strengthening. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 rose nearly 1 percent, the most of the 10 industry groups in the index.
Chevron Corp. rose 2 percent to $102.44, the most of any company in the Dow Jones industrial average.
Dell Inc. jumped 5 percent after the computer maker reported late Tuesday that its income nearly tripled on lower costs and better profit margins.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 17 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,496. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,334.
Dell's strong earnings helped push the technology-focused Nasdaq composite index up 15 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,798.
Staples Inc. plunged 14 percent after the office-supply company reported sales that were weaker than investors were expecting. The company also lowered its full-year earnings forecast.
The reports from Dell and Staples gave contrasting indications of how much businesses were spending. Dell's strong results suggested that companies were spending more on technology, but Staples' disappointing report suggested they were reluctant to lay out cash for basic needs like office supplies.
"Businesses are spending in the technology sector to improve productivity," said Kim Caughey, equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group. "But in the business-supply area, they might not buy quite as many paper clips."
Analog Devices Inc. rose 7 percent, the most of any stock in the S&P 500 index, after the chip-maker said its profit jumped 44 percent in its fiscal second quarter.
Commodity prices halted their slide after floods damaged wheat, corn and soybean fields. Materials companies in the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent as commodities price rose. Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold rose 4 percent.
Target Corp. fell 1 percent after the company reported weak sales. Target's CEO Gregg Steinhafel said shoppers remain "cautious" in their spending.
The Federal Reserve is scheduled to release minutes from its April meeting at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT). Traders will be looking for clues about how concerned the Fed is about inflation. At its previous meeting, the Fed said it would end its Treasury bond-buying program in June as scheduled and indicated that interest rates would remain low for some time.


Updated : 2021-10-17 14:42 GMT+08:00