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Stock Market News for April 11, 2016

Benchmarks closed in the green on Friday following strong gains in energy stocks. Oil price rally helped boost the energy sector and eventually the market. However, losses in consumer discretionary and healthcare stocks curbed some of Friday’s gains. All the key indexes reported their worst weekly loss since early February. The Dow posted its worst weekly decline since Feb 12. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq registered their worst weekly drop since Feb 5.

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 0.2% to close at 17,576.96. The S&P 500 rose 0.3% to close at 2,047.60. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,850.69, gaining 0.1%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 5% to settle at 15.36. A total of around 6.3 billion shares were traded on Friday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.1 billion shares. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 73% stocks that advanced, 24% declined.

Oil prices increased on Friday following hopes that concerns regarding crude oversupply, which has plagued the global market for almost two years, have eased. Oil prices ended with 6% gains after Baker Hughes (BHI) reported that the U.S. oil rig count declined from 362 to 354, posting third straight weekly decline.

Moreover, reports on Thursday showed that TransCanada had stopped its 590,000 bpd Keystone crude pipeline till Tuesday, which also continued to boost crude prices. Also, Russia reported that its crude production has fallen in April, which came as a support ahead of the production freeze meeting in Doha. Both the WTI crude and Brent crude rose 6.2% and 6% to $39.72 per barrel and $41.94 a barrel, respectively.

Oil price rally helped the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) to increase 2% and was the biggest gainer among the major S&P 500 sectors. Leading gainers in the Dow was Chevron Corp (CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), which advanced 1.6% and 1%, respectively. Its key components including, Schlumberger Ltd (SLB), EOG Resources (EOG), Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD), Baker Hughes Incorporated (BHI) and Southwestern Energy Company (SWN) increased 2.6%, 2.8%, 2.1%, 2.8% and 8.4%, respectively.

However, retail and apparel companies declined after shares of Gap, Inc. (GPS) plunged 13.8%. Gap’s shares fell following a year-on-year decline of 6% in its same-store sales in March as compared to a rise of 2% year ago. The company said that high inventory levels might have a negative impact on first quarter profits, which in turn weighed on consumer discretionary sector.

The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) decreased 0.2%, and was one of the biggest losers among the S&P 500 sectors. Key components including Home Depot, Inc. (HD), NIKE, Inc. (NKE), Target Corp. (TGT), Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) and Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) decreased 0.2%, 1.5%, 0.9%, 0.2% and 0.6%, respectively. Separately, Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) also fell 0.3% following 1.2% decline in iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (IBB).

In economic news, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that US wholesale inventories declined 0.5% in February, witnessing decline for the fifth consecutive months. This decline in wholesale inventories in February was wider than the consensus estimate of 0.2% fall. Also, wholesale inventories witnessed sharpest drop since May 2013.

Meanwhile, in a discussion with former Fed Chiefs, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said that following improvements in the U.S. economy, “a gradual path of rate increases will be appropriate.” Yellen also said that the U.S. economy is “on a solid course” and it is “not a bubble economy.” Echoing Janet Yellen’s comments, New York Fed President William C. Dudley said that interest rates should be hiked following a “cautious and gradual approach.”

For the week, the Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq declined 1.2%, 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively. Losses in financial stocks and consumer discretionary stocks had a negative impact on U.S. markets. However, gains in oil prices trimmed some of the losses last week.

Disappointing output and services data had a negative impact on key indexes in both Europe and Japan, which led to declines in key U.S. indexes. Additionally, lackluster earnings outlook for the first quarter dampened investor sentiment.

Further, the minutes of Federal Reserve’s March two-day policy meeting released on Wednesday indicated that the Fed officials shared diverse views regarding rate hike chances which also raised concerns over rate hike course.

Also, the yen continued to rise against the U.S. dollar. On Thursday the U.S. dollar hit its lowest level against yen in almost 18 months

However, both the WTI crude and Brent crude rose nearly 8% for the week following encouraging data including decline in crude inventories and falling rig counts.

Separately, new orders decreased and trade deficit increased, which hurt investor sentiment. While increase in ISM Services Index and consumer credit, and decrease in initial claims had a positive impact on markets.

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