Wall Street gains on tame inflation data, oil rebound

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks were higher on Wednesday, after consumer prices in October rose as expected, adding little pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates swiftly, while a rebound in oil prices lifted energy stocks.

Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) rose 0.5 percent and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) gained 1.6 percent as oil prices recovered on growing prospect of an output cut by OPEC and allied producers, after a 7 percent plunge in the previous session. [O/R]

The S&P energy index .SPNY jumped 1.5 percent and led a broad rally among the major S&P sectors, with only defensive utilities .SPLRCU falling.

The Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices rose 0.3 percent last month, after edging up 0.1 percent in September, amid a rise in gasoline costs and rents.

Excluding volatile food and energy components, prices climbed 0.2 percent. Both numbers came in line with expectations, tempering worries about an overheating U.S. economy that could push the Fed to raise rates aggressively.

With a December move almost fully priced in, investors are looking for hints on how many times the central bank would raise rates in 2019.

A bitter trade dispute between the United States and China, worries about rising interest rates and slowing corporate profits have stalled gains for U.S. stocks, with the S&P 500 trading about 7 percent below its record level.

“It wouldn’t take much good news, whether it is stabilization in energy prices, benign CPI and good news on Brexit, any combination of those will propel us higher,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York.

Trade tensions took a step back on Tuesday after U.S. economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Washington welcomed the resumption of talks with China on trade.

At 9:58 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 139.29 points, or 0.55 percent, at 25,425.78, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 16.90 points, or 0.62 percent, at 2,739.08 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 44.77 points, or 0.62 percent, at 7,245.65.

PG&E Corp (PCG.N) slumped 13.1 percent, leading decliners on the S&P 500, after the utility warned of liquidity concerns if its equipment was found responsible for starting the Camp wildfire currently raging in California.

Snap Inc (SNAP.N) fell 2 percent after Reuters reported that U.S. regulators have subpoenaed the social media app maker for information about its March 2017 initial public offering.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 3.42-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.20-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded eight new 52-week highs and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded eight new highs and 51 new lows.

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