U.S. stocks are climbing Wednesday afternoon. Banks, which have struggled this year, made biggest gains after JPMorgan Chase posted quarterly results that weren’t as bad as analysts expected. Industrial companies are rising on signs of strength in China’s economy.
At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average had gained 187 points, about 1.1 percent, to 17,908.3. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index had risen 20.7 points, about 1 percent, to 2,082.4. The Nasdaq composite index advanced 75.3 points, about 1.6 percent, to 4,947.4.
CRUDE OIL: About the same time, benchmark U.S. crude was down 56 cents, about 1.3 percent, to $41.61 a barrel in the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, the international standard, fell 70 cents, about 1.6 percent, to $43.99 a barrel.
BANK ON IT: JPMorgan, the largest bank in the U.S., said its first-quarter profit fell because of weak results in its investment banking business. Its profit and revenue were bigger than expected, however, and the stock closed up $2.51, about 4.2 percent, to $61.79. Several other major banks will report earnings this week.
ANALYST’S OPINION: Julian Emanuel, U.S. equities and derivatives strategist for UBS, said it didn’t take much to send banks, the worst-performing sector in the market this year, higher. “Bank stocks have been so beaten up that any good news, either on better credit conditions driven by higher energy prices or news on cost-cutting, is likely to underpin those stocks,” he said.
Banks have slumped this year because investors are worried they will take big losses on loans to energy companies, and because interest rates in the U.S. are still low. That reduces’ the profits banks can make on loans.