Surging Oil Prices and Energy Companies Lead US Stocks to Finish Mostly Higher

Oil prices and energy companies rallied Friday after OPEC said it will produce more oil, but not as much as investors feared. While trade tensions remained in the headlines, U.S. stocks finished slightly higher at the end of a bumpy week.

U.S. crude futures jumped 4.6 percent after OPEC nations agreed to produce about 1 million additional barrels of oil per day. Investors have expected an increase in production for weeks and many of them thought a bigger boost was coming, which would have sent prices lower. Health care and household goods companies also rose while technology companies and banks fell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke an eight-day losing streak.

While prices usually go down when oil production rises, investors thought OPEC might take a bigger step based on reports over the last few weeks.

“People were pricing crude in the last couple of weeks (expecting) a bigger increase by OPEC than what they agreed to,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for the Leuthold Group.

The European Union followed through on its promise to put import taxes on $3.4 billion in U.S. goods including bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. Automakers were jolted after President Donald Trump threatened to put a 20 percent tax on cars imported from Europe, although none of them took big losses.

The S&P 500 index added 5.12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,754.88. The Dow gained 119.19 points, or 0.5 percent, to 24,580.89. The Dow lost 2 percent this week, with Boeing off 5.3 percent and Caterpillar down 6.7 percent. That was both companies’ biggest loss in three months. Makers of chemicals and other basic materials like 3M also lost ground this week and technology companies slipped.

The Nasdaq composite fell 20.13 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,692.82. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 3.37 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,685.58.

U.S. crude climbed 4.6 percent to $68.58 a barrel in New York. That was its biggest one-day gain since November 2016, when OPEC and a group of other countries including Russia agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day. Prices have been rising since then, and U.S. crude hit a three-year high of about $72 a barrel in May.

Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, rose 3.4 percent to $75.55 a barrel in London.

Exxon Mobil picked up 2.1 percent to $81.38 and Marathon Oil surged 7.8 percent to $21.48.

The European Union is enforcing tariffs on $3.4 billion in U.S. products in retaliation for duties the Trump administration has put on European steel and aluminum. The taxes are on American products including bourbon, peanut butter and orange juice, and the choices appear designed to create political pressure on Trump and senior U.S. politicians.

EU authorities had said the move was coming in response to the U.S. import duties. On Twitter, Trump threatened to impose a 20 percent tax on cars imported from the EU if barriers to trade are not removed soon. He previously ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to look into possible tariffs or quotas on imported cars and car parts.

That jolted car companies. In Germany, shares of BMW lost 1.1 percent and Daimler sank 0.3 percent. Daimler fell more than 4 percent Thursday after it said Chinese tariffs on U.S. cars would contribute to a decline in its earnings this year. Ford and Toyota also dipped while Peugeot and General Motors rose.

“If you’re in the direct line of fire from a tariff, it’s hugely important,” said Paulsen. Still, he said investors are very skeptical that a damaging trade war will break out. “The trade war has heated up over the last couple of months and yet stocks are up over that period of time,” he said. That was also the case Friday.

Open source software maker Red Hat dropped 12.4 percent to $142.14 after it cut its sales forecasts due to the strengthening dollar. Other technology companies also declined. The industry has been leading the market for more than a year, but it makes more of its sales outside the U.S. than any other major S&P 500 sector. Micron Technology fell 3.9 percent to $57.10 and Nvidia lost 2.4 percent to $250.95.

In other commodity trading, wholesale gasoline jumped 2.9 percent to $2.07 a gallon. Heating oil added 2.7 percent to $2.13 a gallon. Natural gas skidded 1 percent to $2.95 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold slid 0.3 percent to $1,270.70 an ounce. Silver added 0.8 percent to $16.46 an ounce. Copper edged up 0.2 percent to $3.03 a pound.

Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.90 percent.

The dollar rose to 109.91 yen from 109.90 yen. The euro advanced to $1.1663 from $1.1617.

The CAC 40 in France climbed 1.3 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 1.7 percent. In Germany the DAX rose 0.5 percent.

Some Asian markets gained following heavy losses on previous days but finished lower than a week ago. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index edged up 0.2 percent while Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.8 percent. The South Korean Kospi advanced 0.8 percent.


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at His work can be found at

Source: Associated Press