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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

US stocks recover from early slump; price of oil spikes

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are moving higher Tuesday afternoon after domestic and international concerns led to an early slump. The price of oil jumped as traders worried that Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter plane could lead to worsening tensions in the Middle East.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average added 52 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,844 as of 2:10 p.m. Eastern time. The index was down more than 100 points earlier. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,091. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite added four points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,106.

INSTABILITY: Turkey said a Russian warplane it shot down had violated Turkish airspace and ignored repeated warnings. Russia denied the plane crossed Syria’s border into Turkey. NATO, of which Turkey is a member, will hold an emergency meeting later.

WORRIED CONSUMERS: Consumer confidence plunged in November as Americans became more worried about the state of the job market. The Conference Board says its confidence index fell to 90.4, a big drop from October and far lower than analysts expected. That came in spite of a big rebound in hiring in October, which suggested the economy will keep growing.

Consumer discretionary stocks slipped following the report, with streaming video site Netflix and e-commerce giant Amazon both taking small losses.

THE QUOTE: Jeremy Zirin, chief equity strategist at UBS Wealth Management Research, said the confidence report was a surprise because there are a lot of reasons for consumers to feel good right now. Employers are hiring, and Americans have more money to spend because inflation and gas prices are low. There’s also evidence wages are increasing.

“It’s hard to explain,” he said. Zirin said he thinks consumer confidence will improve in December.

ENERGIZED: U.S. crude climbed $1.14, or 2.7 percent, to $42.89 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, added $1.24, or 2.8 percent, to $46.07.

U.S. oil climbed 3.4 percent Monday. Last week it fell to its lowest price in about three months.

OIL EFFECTS: Energy stocks were by far the biggest gainers on the S&P 500. Marathon Oil surged 99 cents, or 5.6 percent, to $18.52 and Chesapeake Energy added 24 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $5.38. Utilities like Public Service Enterprise Group and Consolidated Edison lost ground on the prospect of higher energy prices.

STAYCATIONS: Travel stocks took a beating. The State Department sent an alert warning Americans about risks while they travel abroad. It’s the first such warning in more than a year, and will stay in effect for three months. The consumer confidence and oil data are also concerning for companies in travel.

An increase in oil prices would leave people with less money to spend on travel and reduced consumer confidence might mean people won’t feel comfortable spending money on big vacations. It would also reduce profits for travel providers.

Travel booking site Priceline sank $31.93, or 2.5 percent, to $1,232.93 and competitor Expedia shed $3.30, or 2.7 percent, to $121.62. Among airlines, United lost $1.78, or 3 percent, to $56.79 and Southwest dropped $1.32, or 2.8 percent, to $46.15.

Cruise lines also fell. Royal Caribbean lost $2.90, or 3.1 percent, to $92.03 and Carnival gave up 93 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $50.45.

EARNINGS: Quarterly reports continued to roll in. Discount retailer Dollar Tree rose despite mixed third-quarter results. Its sales were stronger than expected, and the stock gained $4.89, or 7 percent, to $74.44.

Jewelry company Signet, the owner of brands including Kay Jewelers, Jared and Zale, reported lower than expected profit and revenue. Its stock dropped $3.33, or 2.4 percent, to $137.32. Dental products maker Patterson fell $3.24, or 6.7 percent, to $45.39.

Food makers Campbell Soup and Hormel both rose after releasing their results. Campbell Soup shares picked up $1.53, or 3.1 percent, to $51.32 and Hormel added $1.94, or 2.8 percent, to $71.20.

METALS: Metals prices, which have tumbled to six-year lows, made some gains. Gold rebounded $7, or 0.7 percent, to $1,073.80 an ounce. The price of silver rose for only the third time in November, adding 12.7 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $14.159 an ounce. Copper picked up 3.4 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $2.055 a pound.

CURRENCIES AND BONDS: The euro rose to $1.0651 from $1.0625. The dollar fell to 122.41 yen from 122.85 yen. Bond prices didn’t move much. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged down to 2.23 percent from 2.24 percent.

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