After a roller-coaster day, stocks showed some gains at the closing bell Tuesday as energy companies climbed in tandem with the price of crude oil. Earnings reports are driving much of the action and sending materials companies higher. Health care stocks fell on continued scrutiny of drug companies.
AT THE CLOSE ON WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13.1 points, about 0.1 percent, to 17,990.3. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 3.9 points, about 0.2 percent, to 2,091.7. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 7.5 points, about 0.2 percent, to 4,888.3. The Nasdaq has fallen for three days in a row.
OIL PRICES: Benchmark U.S. crude jumped $1.36, about 3.2 percent, to $44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained $1.85, or 4.2 percent, to $46.33 a barrel.
HEALTH CARE SLIPS: Drug companies fell as investors looked ahead to the latest congressional panel on drug prices. The Senate Aging Committee will hold its third meeting on drug prices Wednesday, and on Tuesday the committee said former Valeant Pharmaceuticals executive Robert Schiller and hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, an investor in Valeant, will both be questioned.
Investors in drug companies fear that congressional scrutiny will make it harder for the companies to keep raising drug prices and keep their profits growing.