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While you were sleeping: UPDATED Wall Street rises as oil hits five-month high

Energy stocks lead lift in the Dow.

Margreet Dietz
Wed, 27 Apr 2016

Energy shares rose along with oil prices though though the main Wall Street indexes were little changed ahead of a monetary policy update from the US Federal Reserve.

The Federal Open Market Committee began its two-day meeting. Investors will scrutinise any clues on the timing of a potential interest rate increase in a statement scheduled for release at the end of the gathering on Wednesday in Washington DC.

At the close of trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 13.08 points, or less than 0.1%, to 17,990.32, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.15% to 4888.31.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gainedt a 0.2% to 2091.64.

"The S&P 500 is at what I consider a key resistance area in that 2090 range, so it's going to take some good news to push through that," Alan Gayle, a senior strategist at Atlanta-based RidgeWorth Investments, told Bloomberg.

"The FOMC starts its deliberations now and so it would appear at this critical positioning in the market near resistance that traders may be just waiting on the sidelines until the FOMC is done before making any real bets."

Energy shares rise
Energy shares in the S&P 500 rose 1.4% as oil futures surged 3.3% to settle at $US44.04 a barrel, a more than five-month high. Shares of materials companies also rose 1.1%.

Procter & Gamble was the biggest laggard in the Dow, dropping 2.3%. It reported higher profits but issued downbeat earnings guidance.

Fourth quarter so-called core earnings per share is expected to be "significantly lower" than the previous year due to a combination of increased advertising investments, a higher tax rate, headwinds from foreign exchange and lower non-operating income, the company said in a statement.

Hershey shares fell 1.9% after its said its profit and revenue declined in the last quarter.

"Easter performance was solid versus our forecast but non-seasonal candy, mint and gum shipments were below plan," Hershey CEO John Bilbrey said in a statement.

"Non-seasonal results are anticipated to improve over the remainder of the year driven by greater levels of consumer programming and more effective brand support that should result in net sales, retail takeaway and market share growth," Bilbrey said. "Where we have already made investments, results have been solid."

In a separate statement, Hershey said it had bought Ripple Brand Collective, the owner of the barkTHINS snacking chocolate brand. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

DuPont gains ahead of merger
Shares of DuPont climbed after the company, which is preparing to merge with Dow Chemical, lifted its full-year earnings estimate.

"Solid execution, local price and product mix gains, and higher corn area led to a strong start to the year for our agricultural business," DuPont chief executive Ed Breen said in a statement. "Our other businesses generally performed well, slightly above our expectations."

"We made progress with our global cost savings and restructuring plan," Mr Breen noted, adding that the company is on track for savings of $US730 million in 2016, including significant improvements in its corporate cost performance.

Apple is set to release its latest results later today.  Analysts expect the computer giant to post its first revenue decline in 13 years, with iPhone unit sales expected to be down on a year-over-year basis.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.2% gain from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 index rose 0.4%, boosted by a 4.3% gain in BP shares after it beat bottom line expectations But the result still amounted to a second consecutive quarter of losses after a steep drop in the oil price at the start of the year..

France's CAC 40 index declined 0.3%, as did Germany's DAX index.


Margreet Dietz
Wed, 27 Apr 2016
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While you were sleeping: UPDATED Wall Street rises as oil hits five-month high