U.S. stocks rise as soaring oil prices overshadow unemployment numbers

Wearing a face mask to guard against the coronavirus, a man walks past the famous Charging Bull statue on Wall Street in New York City on March 20. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

April 2 (UPI) — After two straight days of losses, stocks on Wall Street gained ground Thursday due to a sharp rise in oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 469.93 points, or 2.24 percent, while the S&P 500 rose 2.24 percent and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.72 percent as U.S. crude oil prices rose 24 percent in their best session ever.

President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he expects both countries to make significant cuts to oil production.

“I expect and hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 million barrels and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil and gas industry!” Trump wrote, adding the reduction “could be” as high as 15 million barrels.

The news sent Chevron stock up 11 percent and Exxon Mobil up 7.7 percent, helping to drive the Dow’s rise, while the S&P 500 received a boost as the energy sector rose 9.1 percent.

The rising oil prices overshadowed reports of record unemployment claims and declining auto sales on Thursday.

About an hour before the New York Stock Exchange opened, the Labor Department reported its weekly unemployment figures, which said 6.6 million Americans filed for jobless benefits last week — the highest single-week total in history and more than double the number from the previous week.

The Labor Department will release its March jobs report on Friday.

Ford closed down 0.91 percent. The U.S. automaker’s first-quarter sales fell more than 12 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago as car sales dropped 36 percent, SUV sales slid 11 percent and trucks were down 6 percent.


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