Stock indexes drifted higher in Tuesday afternoon, led by gains in energy and mining companies as the price of oil rebounded. Technology companies were the biggest laggard, with Netflix and IBM down sharply. Investors had their eye on the latest company earnings news.
At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 49.4 points, about 0.3 percent, at 18,053.6. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 6.5 points, about 0.3 percent, to 2,100.8. The Nasdaq composite index, which had been down all day, was off 19.7 points, about 0.4 percent, at 4,940.3.
CRUDE ENERGY: As the markets were closing, benchmark U.S. crude was up $1.22, nearly 3 percent, at $42.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up $1.16, about 2.7 percent, at $44.06 a barrel.
EARNINGS ON DECK: Investors are focused on what Corporate America has to say during the next few weeks as companies report their latest quarterly results. Expectations for earnings are low this quarter, with corporate profits for companies in the S&P 500 projected to be down 8.1 percent, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Even excluding the beaten-down energy sector, earnings growth for the S&P 500 companies is expected to be down 3.4 percent.
All of the earnings growth this year is expected to come in the second half of 2016, noted Erin Gibbs, equity chief investment officer at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “This year it’s also all about the guidance,” she said. “It’s very much about how companies expect to do for the next three quarters over the year.”