By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks jumped more than 1 percent Tuesday, led by energy shares as oil prices extended their recent rally, while higher-than-expected January car sales also bolstered the advance.
Merger activity also helped, with shares of Office Depot (ODP) jumping 21.6 percent to $9.28 after The Wall Street Journal reported the retailer was in advanced talks to merge with Staples Inc. Staples (SPLS) shares gained 10.9 percent to $19.01.
The SP 500 has gained 2.8 percent over two sessions as the bounceback in oil prices and hopes of a Greek debt deal eased some concerns about the global economy, but the index has been locked in a trading range of 1,972 to 2,093 since mid-December and is nearly flat since Dec. 31.
The year so far has been marked by volatility, with the SP 500’s daily trading range often more than double its average over the past year.
U.S. crude oil prices rose 7 percent to settle at $53.05 . Brent and U.S. oil prices have risen roughly 19 percent since Wednesday’s close. The SP 500 energy index climbed 2.8 percent.
Shares of Dow components Exxon Mobil (XOM) were up 3 percent at $92.25 and Chevron (CVX) added 3.3 percent at $109.53. Machinery-maker Caterpillar (CAT) rose 3.8 percent to $83.92, among the Dow’s biggest boosters.
“You’ve had some of those who had been extremely bearish start to take off their bearish bets when it felt like you may have gotten to a short-term bottom in oil,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
“Some of the trader pressure on the commodity itself has abated somewhat. With that, you’ve had more of an equity risk-on mentality.”
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 305.36 points, or 1.76 percent, to 17,666.4, the Standard Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) gained 29.18 points, or 1.44 percent, to 2,050.03 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 51.05 points, or 1.09 percent, to 4,727.74.
Car-Buyers Out in Force
January car sales topped expectations, buoyed by low gas prices and easy credit. Ford Motor (F) gained 2.5 percent to $15.65, General Motors (GM) rose 2.6 percent to $33.98 and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) climbed 3.3 percent to $13.95.
Even as SP 500 profit growth estimates for the fourth quarter have risen as more companies report, expectations for first-quarter results have tumbled. First-quarter earnings are now expected to fall 1.2 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed.
About 8.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 7.7 billion average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets.
NYSE advancers outnumbered decliners 2,478 to 615, a 4.03-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 2,029 issues rose and 753 fell, a 2.69-to-1 ratio.
The SP 500 posted 19 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq composite recorded 65 new highs and 34 new lows.
What to watch Wednesday:
- Payroll-processor ADP releases its survey of private-sector hiring for January at 8:15 a.m. Eastern time.
- The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for January at 10 a.m.
These selected companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:
- Allstate (ALL)
- Automatic Data Processing (ADP)
- Boston Scientific (BSX)
- Clorox Co. (CLX)
- Fortune Brands Home Security (FBHS)
- General Motors (GM)
- GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
- Hain Celestial Group (HAIN)
- Humana (HUM)
- Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR)
- Level 3 Communications (LVLT)
- Lincoln National (LNC)
- Marathon Petroleum (MPC)
- Merck (MRK)
- Motorola Solutions (MSI)
- Ralph Lauren (RL)
- Southern Co. (SO)
- Toyota Motors (TM)
- Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX) (FOXA)
- Under Armour (UA)
- Whirlpool (WHR)
- Yum Brands (YUM)
When you give your kids their allowance each week, help them divide it into three jars: One for spending money, which they can use right now on anything they want, one for savings, which means putting it aside for things they’ll want in the future, and one for giving to a cause of their choice, like animals, the environment, or childhood cancer. Help your children develop the habit of saving for a goal, such as a big toy, a trip to Chuck E. Cheese or a new video game. This will help them learn delayed gratification and the importance of putting money aside.
5. Instill a savings habit