New York: US stocks rose for a second day on Wednesday after JP Morgan Chase’s chief executive said his bank was profitable in January and February, echoing comments by Citigroup’s CEO a day earlier.
But the Dow industrials eked out a slim gain as a 7% drop in oil prices pushed energy shares like Exxon Mobil Corp lower and limited a broad-market advance.
Jamie Dimon’s comments to CNBC television, which reversed a broad decline, came after a speech where he said the bank’s bond department had just had its two busiest months ever.
His comments followed similar remarks on profits from Citigroup’s Vikram Pandit that on Tuesday spurred Wall Street’s biggest rally in nearly four months.
JPMorgan shares rose 4.6% to $20.40, while an index of bank stocks climbed 3.1%.
Dimon “calmed the markets down. He was the voice of reason,” said Angel Mata, managing director of listed equity trading at Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets in Baltimore.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 3.91 points, or 0.06%, to 6,930.40. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 1.76 points, or 0.24%, to 721.36. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 13.36 points, or 0.98%, to 1,371.64.
Tuesday’s huge rally and Wednesday’s extremely modest rise marked the first two-day advance for the Dow since the previous back-to-back gains on 5-6 February. The blue-chip average is now down 1.9% for the month.
HP and Apple shine
A broker’s recommendation that investors buy shares of Hewlett-Packard pushed stocks of computer makers higher and the Nasdaq ended up nearly 1%.
HP shares rose 5.8% to $28.61, making it the Dow’s top advancer.
On Nasdaq, Apple, the maker of MacBook computers and the iPod, jumped 4.6% to $92.68. Dell rose 2.5% to $8.98.
Apple introduced a smaller version of its popular iPod Shuffle music player on Wednesday with a new feature that enables the user to see what song is playing.
But a drop of 7.4% in the price of US front-month crude oil futures drove energy shares lower, limiting a broad-market advance a day after stocks had their best performance since late November. The April crude contractsettled at $42.33 a barrel, down $3.38, or 7.4%.
Exxon Mobil was among the heaviest weights on the Dow, down 2.4% at $65.77. An S&P index of energy shares slid 1.2 %.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 3 to 2. On the Nasdaq, the ratio was even, with 1,342 stocks advancing and 1,343 declining.