S&P, Dow rise on energy, keeping rally alive

S&P, Dow rise on energy, keeping rally alive

New York: The Dow and S&P 500 rose in light trading on Tuesday, extending December’s rally, as cold weather in the Northeast lifted oil prices and energy shares.

A blizzard increased demand for heating oil, pushing US crude prices above $91 a barrel and lifting the S&P energy sector by 0.4%. Commodities producers had fallen on Monday after an interest rate hike by China sparked concerns about decreased demand.

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Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil touched new 52-week highs, with Chevron adding 1.2% to $91.19 and Exxon climbing 0.6% to $73.42. Both companies are Dow components.

“Equities are taking some cues from the commodity market, but it would be surprising to have dramatic moves given how low the trading volume is and how lightly staffed trading desks are," said Lawrence Glazer, managing partner at Mayflower Advisors in Boston.

Among material companies, Newmont Mining gained 2.4% to $61.55 as gold staged its biggest one-day gain since 3 December to $1,404.90 per ounce.

General Motors Co was up 2.1% to $35.32 after several banks initiated coverage on the automaker, including “overweight" ratings from Barclays Capital and Morgan Stanley.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 20.51 points, or 0.18%, at 11,575.54. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 0.98 point, or 0.08%, at 1,258.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 4.39 points, or 0.16%, at 2,662.88.

Downbeat economic data kept the market in check. Consumer confidence unexpectedly deteriorated in December, hurt by increasing worries about the labor market, while the price of US single-family homes fell almost double the expected pace in October.

While the confidence data was weak, new sales data confirmed that US retailers are poised to show their best holiday season in three-year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs.

“The confidence data is having a muted impacted because of the spending data," said Gary Flam, portfolio manager at Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles. “That action is speaking louder than what consumers are saying."

Trading volumes, already light over the holiday season, were expected to remain thin over the week as the Eastern United States dug out from a snowstorm that stranded thousands of travelers at the end of the Christmas weekend.

MannKind Corp jumped 3.3% to $8.23 after the company said US regulators need an additional four weeks to complete a review of its experimental diabetes treatment. The news lifted the hopes of investors who had expected the drug to be rejected outright.

A total of 1,543 stocks fell on the New York Stock Exchange as 1,440 rose, while on the Nasdaq 1,547 shares declined and 1,081 stocks advanced.