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Stock Market News for April 13, 2016

Benchmarks finished in the green on Tuesday following strong gains in energy stocks. Oil price rally helped boost energy stocks. Meanwhile, reduction in concerns regarding oil loan defaults also led financial stocks to end in positive territory. The S&P 500 re-entered the green for the year, rising 0.9% year-to-date. The Dow registered its best intra-day points as well as percentage gains since March 11.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) increased 0.9%, or 164.84 points, to close at 17,721.25. The S&P 500 rose 1% to close at 2,061.72. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,872.09, gaining 0.8%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 8.7% to settle at 14.85. A total of around 7.5 billion shares were traded on Tuesday, higher than the last 20-session average of 7 billion shares. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 76% stocks that advanced, 19% declined.

Oil prices increased yesterday on hopes that two key oil exporting nations, Russia and Saudi Arabia may opt to freeze their crude output level. Although Russian energy minister Alexander Novak refused to comment on such reports, they boosted investor sentiment ahead of Sunday’s meeting in Doha. Crude prices settled at their highest levels for 2016. WTI crude rose 4.3% to $42.17 per barrel, reaching at its highest settlement since late November 2015. Brent crude increased 4.2% to $44.69 a barrel.

Oil price rally helped the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) to increase 3%, which was the biggest gainer among the major S&P 500 sectors. One of its components, Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK) increased 34.4% and was the biggest advancer among S&P 500 stocks. Its other key components including, Schlumberger Ltd (SLB), EOG Resources (EOG), Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD) and Southwestern Energy Company (SWN) increased 2.7%, 4.7%, 3.4% and 15.4%, respectively. Leading gainers in the Dow was Chevron Corp (CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation ( XOM), which advanced 2.4% and 1.2%, respectively.

Further, oil surge also boosted financial and bank stocks as they reduced worries over the possibility of oil loan defaults. The Financials Select Sector SPDR (XLF) gained 1.3%, and was the second biggest advancer among the S&P 500 sectors. Dow components JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) rose 1.9% and 1.4%, respectively. Top holdings from the sector such as, Bank of America Corporation (BAC), Citigroup Inc. (C) and Wells Fargo & Company (WFC) increased 2.3%, 1.9% and 1.6%, respectively.

Additionally, the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) rose 2.1%, its third straight session increase. The index also posted its best one-day rise since March 11. Some of the key holdings of the sector including SVB Financial Group (SIVB), PacWest Bancorp (PACW), U.S. Bancorp (USB), Comerica Incorporated ( CMA), M&T Bank Corporation (MTB) and MGIC Investment Corp. (MTG) rose 2.7%, 2.6%, 1.9%, 2.6%, 1.5% and 3.2%, respectively.

In economic news, import price index rose to 0.2% in March, reporting its first gain in nine months. Exports price index remained unchanged last month. However, the U.S. small business confidence index fell to 92.6 in March, reaching a two-year low.

Also, treasury budget deficit in March was $108.04 billion, wider than consensus estimate of $95.3 billion. Further, the U.S. budget deficit in fiscal 2016’s first half rose nearly 5% from that in fiscal 2015’s first half.

In earnings news, Alcoa Inc. (AA) officially kicked off the first quarter earnings season. Shares of Alcoa fell 2.7% following a plunge in profits and weak outlook. In the first quarter, Alcoa’s earnings were 7 cents per share, down from 28 cents per share recorded a year ago. Although Alcoa’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 2 cents, its revenues of $4,947 million missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5,274 million.

Alcoa’s quarterly profit plunged by 92% to $16 million in 2016’s first quarter from the year-ago quarter. Alcoa also cut its 2016 global aerospace sales growth forecast to 6%-8% from 8%-9% expected earlier.

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