Stocks hit record highs as oil rises

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By Yashaswini Swamynathan, Reuters

New York — The three major U.S. stock indexes hit all-time highs on Monday, building on the record-setting rally of the past few weeks, as oil prices rose.

Oil rose above the $47 mark and was near its one-month high, as speculation intensified that producers may try to work out ways to support prices in an oversupplied market. [O/R]

The S&P 500 energy index rose 0.75 percent and was the top percentage gainer among eight of the benchmark’s 10 major indexes that were in the black.

A strong monthly jobs report on Aug 5 boosted optimism about the U.S. economy, driving all three major indexes to close at record levels last Thursday — their first since 1999.

The S&P 500 index has notched 13 record intraday highs since July, including Monday.

At 9:38 a.m. ET (1338 GMT), the Dow Jones industrial average was up 66.36 points, or 0.36 percent, at 18,642.83.

The S&P 500 was up 6.06 points, or 0.28 percent, at 2,190.11.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 18.53 points, or 0.35 percent, at 5,251.42.

Investors are awaiting the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s July policy meeting for more clues on when it would raise interest rates. The minutes are due on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET.

Robust labor market data and better-than-expected quarterly earnings of U.S. companies could prod the central bank to raise rates sometime this year.

However, traders remain skeptical of a rate hike as U.S. inflation remains below the Fed’s 2 percent target and central banks worldwide unleash stimulus programs to support their economies.

The odds of a hike stand at 9 percent for September and rise to about 41 percent for December, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

Apple rose 0.6 percent to $108.80 and gave the biggest boost to the S&P and the Nasdaq.

Oil major Exxon rose 0.3 percent, while Chevron was up 0.7 percent.

Post Properties rose 8.5 percent after agreeing to be bought by Mid-America Apartment Communities for about $3.88 billion. Mid-America’s shares fell 5.1 percent.

Valeant rose 5.5 percent to $26.29 after Mizuho upgraded the stock to “neutral” from “underperform”.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,022 to 619. On the Nasdaq, 1,625 issues rose and 665 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 24 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 68 new highs and 10 new lows.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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