Stocks gain modestly as oil tops $109, rates rise

The Dow finishes up 33 as Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft rally. Apple sags. Bed Bath & Beyond shares jump on strong 4th-quarter results. Gold briefly tops $1,460. But metals and chemical stocks fall back.

By Charley Blaine Apr 6, 2011 1:06PM

Charley BlaineUpdated: 10:45 p.m. ET

Investors in the stock market stared at soaring prices for gold and crude oil, rising interest rates and the real possibility of a government shutdown in the United States.

And despite all that, they pushed the market higher, with much of the gains coming in the last hour of trading.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) closed up 33 points to 12,427. The blue chips had been up as many as 57 points in the morning but saw the gain slide to just 7 points at noon ET. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was up 3 points to 1,336. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was up 9 points to 2,800.

The market's performance wasn't uniform. Leaders include semiconductor, computer hardware, financial and utility stocks. Airline stocks were lower as crude oil briefly topped $109 a barrel. So were energy and metals stocks.

The market's performance came as interest rates were moving higher in advance of an expected interest-rate hike by the European Central Bank on Thursday. The move is likely to add pressure to calls for the Federal Reserve to end its bond-purchase program and possibly raise rates as well. The 10-year Treasury yield was at 3.549% this afternoon, up from Tuesday's 3.483% and the highest level since March 8.

Gold jumped again today, hitting a record $1,463.70 an ounce in New York trading before dropping back to settle at $1,45.50. That's still up $6 on the day -- and a record close.


Article continues below.



Silver settled at $39.387 an ounce, up 20.4 cents, or 0.5%. Silver had reached $39.785, a 31-year high. Copper jumped 10.6 cents, or 2.5%, to $4.37 a pound.

Crude oil, meanwhile, settled up 49 cents to $108.83 a barrel after peaking earlier in the day at $109.14. The pullback came after a government report showed domestic oil supplies were larger than expected. Crude is up 19.1% for the year.

The national average price of gasoline was $3.707 a gallon, up 2.2 cents from Tuesday and up 17.4% for the year.

Brent crude was off 2 cents to $122.20 a barrel in London. It is still up nearly 29% on the year.

Bed Bath & Beyond has a big quarter

After the close, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) shares were up 9.5% to $54.10. The home furnishings retailer said it earned $1.12 a share in its fiscal-fourth quarter, up from 86 cents a share a year ago. The results beat the Street consensus of 97 cents by 15 cents.

Revenue was up 11.6% to $2.5 billion and beat the Street estimate by $100 million.

The company sees 58 cents to 61 cents in fiscal-first quarter earnings. The consensus estimate is 59 cents. The company's outlook is another confirmation of recovering consumer spending, analyst Brian Sozzi of Wall Street Strategies told Reuters.

Energy and materials shares slip
Despite the commodity price gains, metals and energy shares were mostly lower.

Coal producers Peabody Energy (BTU) and Massey Energy (MEE) were the second- and third-worst S&P 500 performers, down 3.7% to $69.56 and 3.5% to $67.59, respectively. Exxon Mobil (XOM) was off 0.3% to $85.18. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) was off 0.6% to $56.25. Newmont Mining (NEM) dropped 0.9% to $56.45.

Crude's gain hit transportation shares.  United Continental Holdings (UAL), American Airlines parent AMR (AMR) and Delta Air Lines (DAL) were the laggards in the  Dow Jones Transportation Average ($DJT), which was up slightly to 5,344.

In addition, chemical stocks were lower because they face higher energy costs. Dow Chemical (DOW) was off 0.4% to $38.49. DuPont (DD) fell slightly to $56.02.

Futures trading suggests U.S. stocks will open slightly higher on Thursday. Earnings results are due from Pep Boys (PBY), Constellation Brands (STZ) and Pier 1 Imports (PIR). Japanese stocks were higher in early trading.

Energy prices -- New York close
 Wed.  Tues.  Month chg.  YTD chg.
Crude oil 

$108.83  $108.34  1.98%  19.10%
(per barrel)




Heating oil

$3.1912  $3.1850  3.28%  25.46%
(per gallon)




Natural gas 

$4.1460  $4.2310  -5.54%  -5.88%
(per mil. BTU)




Unleaded gasoline




(per gallon)




Brent crude

$122.30  $122.22  4.38%  29.08%
(per barrel)

Retail gasoline




(per gallon; AAA)

Techs have another strong day
It wasn't a bad day for technology stocks. Three of the top six Dow leaders were tech issues, with Cisco Systems (CSCO) the leader, up 4.9% to $18.07. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) was second, up 2.2% to $41.18, with Microsoft (MSFT) up 1.4% to $26.15. (Microsoft is the publisher of MSN Money.)

Cisco and Microsoft were higher in part because their weights in the Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX.X) will increase on May 1, and managers of funds that track the index will have to hold more of the shares. Cisco was the Nasdaq-100's leader today as well.

The index, however, was up 4 points to 2,332.

In addition, Cisco was higher because of a perception that the company is going to come under attack by shareholder activists over the poor performance of its stock in the last year or so. The shares were off 15.5% in 2010 and are off nearly 12% this year. CEO John Chambers admitted the company's performance has been disappointing and, in a memo sent out Tuesday, said the company will "fix the portfolio."

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index ($SOX) was up 7 points to 446. That's probably a continuing reaction to Texas Instruments' (TXN) acquisition of National Semiconductor (NSM). Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was the leader of the index, up 4% to $8.43.

In addition, Oppenheimer and D.A. Davidson both upgraded Broadcom (BRCM) to "buy." Shares were up 3.9% to $39.95.

Apple (AAPL) was off 0.3% to $338.04, its sixth straight decline.

Twenty-one of the 30 Dow stocks were higher, along with 61 Nasdaq-100 stocks.

Cisco, American Express (AXP),andJPMorgan Chase (JPM)were the Dow leaders, with Caterpillar (CAT), Pfizer (PFE)Chevron (CVX) and and Walt Disney (DIS) the laggards.

After Cisco, the Nasdaq-100 leaders were Broadcom and Intuitive Surgical (ISRG). The laggards were Citrix Systems (CTXS), down 3.3% to $73.18, and Baidu (BIDU) down 3.1% to $137.25.

Leaders and laggards
NYSE Euronext (NYX) rose 2.1% to $39.81. The operator of the New York Stock Exchange and exchanges in Europe is "absolutely not" considering a counterbid for Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ), Reuters reported. French daily Les Echos earlier reported that NYSE Euronext was considering a possible hostile counterbid, citing unidentified bankers. Nasdaq OMX was up 3% to $28.83.

Idex (IEX), up 0.3% to $45.29. The maker of Jaws of Life rescue equipment raised its quarterly dividend to 17 cents a share from 15 cents. The increase was expected.

Zumiez (ZUMZ), up 27% to $28.05. The retailer based in Everett, Wash., was raised to "overweight" from "neutral" at Piper Jaffray & Co.

Cephalon (CEPH), down 0.5% to $77.02. The biotech company rejected ValeantPharmaceuticals International’s (VRX) unsolicited $5.7 billion bid, saying the offer is "opportunistic" and undervalues the company’s marketed and experimental medicines.

Netflix (NFLX, down 1.7% to $239.97. The mail-order and online movie-rental service agreed with Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) to obtain exclusive Internet streaming rights to the first four seasons of the TV series "Mad Men."

Short hits from the markets -- New York close
 Wed.  Tues.

Month chg.

YTD chg.
Treasury yields


13-week Treasury bill




5-year Treasury note 




10-year Treasury note




30-year Treasury bond





U.S. Dollar Index




British pound




(in U.S. $)

U.S. $ in pounds




Euro in dollars




(in U.S. $)

U.S. $ in euros

€ 0.698

€ 0.703


U.S. $ in yen 




U.S. $ in Chinese





Canada dollar




(in U.S. $)

U.S. dollar 




(in Canadian $)









(per troy ounce)







(per pound)





(per troy ounce)





(per bushel)





(per bushel)


$2.0806  $2.0106  3.91%  43.68%
(per pound)

Crude oil 




(per barrel)

Apr 6, 2011 2:57PM
What is wrong with this picture? We have gained 7.2 million barrels of oil in the past 2 weeks. Does it take a rocket scientist to see that we are cutting back on oil usage? How has the Wall Street traders reacted, the bastards have continued to raise oil prices. The are intent on ruining our economy for their own gain. These people need to be dealt with before we find ourselves back into another recession. It is time for the government to step in and regulate these Pigs. Please join me in staying home and only buy enough gas and essentials to get by. We need to send these Greedy Morons a message.
Apr 6, 2011 1:52PM

Even if fighting in the middle east ceased, the speculators would still find a reason to jack up oil prices. Some excuses they would use:


1) Someone in the middle east has hemroids and not sure when it might heal, it make take an extra day or two than normal.

2) There is 5% chance possible of a sprinkle of rain on the gulf coast.

3) Someone in the middle east wiped their **** with rough toilet paper.

4) Someone in the middle east spit in the wind.

5) Some specualtor needs to buy a new boat.

6) Someone needs to pad Obamanomics pocket, payment is due.

7) Someone in the middle east needs their turban washed and pressed.

Apr 6, 2011 4:18PM
I don't know what is going on here but, I am on the half of this country that works so the other half doesn't have to and I can no longer afford to get to work.  Stocks rise every day so does food prices and gas.  Is this what they mean the rich get richer.  Who is benefitting from this? NOT ME. I need to find new ways to pinch a dollar more every day.  What are my choices?  Go to work and be taxed more?  Quit my job because it costs to much to try to do the right thing?  Who will notice if the Government shuts down, they haven't done squat for me except find more ways to take my money. 
Apr 6, 2011 2:01PM
The economy is bent over with a gun to the back of its head, the greed has the trigger cocked and ready to fire. Yep let's put that bullet in the head so we can all get richer. Lets kill the middle class and all move to China, where Capitalism can flourish under slave labor and no taxes.
Apr 6, 2011 5:24PM
Take oil and gas OFF THE FUTURES MARKET!!!  This is what drives the prices up, NOT supply and demand issues.  Companies like Goldman-Sachs make their billions off the speculation market and consumers take it in the shorts!  Just last week it was disclosed that if oil prices were driven by consumer demand, the price per barrel would be somewhere in the $30 to $40 a barrel range!  Where's our president in taking charge of this rediculous price gouging!?!
Apr 6, 2011 2:16PM
Yep, they continue to cheat the American public by fleecing us mercilessly. We are following closely in the footsteps of the Romans...SOON we will meet their same sad ending...
Apr 6, 2011 4:48PM
The government needs to take action now on the trading of ETF's.  The trading in these for oil has artificially inflated the price of oil.  They are traded like derivatives were previously traded and we all know what happened with those.  Once the market for ETF's is transparent with a clearing house, oil will drop at least $50 per barrel.  The oil inventory in this country is huge.  There is no reason for this run up in price except for speculation.  Congress, take action now!!! 
Apr 6, 2011 4:05PM
I am so sick of the way the market has been manipulated by investors and speculators since the housing crash. The same people who used to invest in real estate are now investing in commodities futures, which is the main reason for the meteoric rise in gold, silver and well as all types of grain. I am not for Government intervention in business, but this is totally unreal. The first point is that even before the unrest in the Libya they only accounted for less than 1.6% of the total output of oil in the WORLD! Also at the same time Saudi Arabia as well as the other oil producers in OPEC vowed to make up any differences needed. If you want to see the reason for the market volatility just follow this link and read.|aim|dl4|sec1_lnk3|52083
Apr 6, 2011 2:47PM

Real World- You forgot a couple of reasons:


  • GE needs Obama to keep subsidizing inefficient windmills;
  • Obama's buddy George Soros needs the US to buy his Brazillian oil;
  • Our representitives are padding their pockets on oil investments and won't repeal Gramm -Rudman to force traders to take physical possession of commodities;
  • Printing press Ben wants the dollar devalued while he makes a fortune in foreign markets.  
Apr 6, 2011 4:34PM
I find it funny, people blame the rise on oil on Obama's economic policies.  In 2008 it was the Bush's administrations economic policies.  Remember seeing comments about that here.  Suppose if Palin won in 2012 and oil rose again, it would be on Palinomics?  C'mon, the fault lies in Wall Street and the fact NEITHER of the two major parties are going to do anything, they are all in bed with Wall Street.
Surprised the market is not up 25 percent today. The nuclear crisis in Japan is over TEPCO has stopped all radiation coming from their plants. They say they will have the plants back on line in a couple of weeks. 

Gold has quit it's rally and is in retreat. 

No worry about $5 a gallon gas as Libya has restarted oil exports expect oil to go back down to $32 a barrel in a couple of days and a gallon of gas will be under $1 a gallon by the end of next week.

Bernanke's print money and buy assets plan is working well and by the end of the month the US unemployment rate should be under 4 percent.

Rand Paul's The Path to Prosperity will pass Congress and the super rich will pay 10 percent less tax. Medicare and Social Security will be done away with and the military budget increased to $2 trillion a month so the super rich will feel safe. And the deficit will be gone as we will transfer S.S. and Medicare tax payments into the rest of government.

What a wonderful world we live in. 

The Dow hitting 44,000 in 4 months you bet that is going to happen.
Apr 6, 2011 2:42PM
Apr 6, 2011 4:28PM
Alrighty then, .................first shut down the government, let the stock market respond by crashing and burning and then convene a continental congress and have a vote of no confidence in the federal government and start fresh with a law that forces all laws to be written double spaced and on ONE single piece of paper, anything longer can not be legally enforced!
Apr 6, 2011 10:22PM
Apr 6, 2011 8:53PM
I would guess that less than one in 10 of you are heavily invested.  A recent study showed that only 1 in 10 baby boomers have saved $500,000 for retirement.  And even $500,000 isn't enough to retire comfortably.
Apr 6, 2011 10:02PM
Think then, twice that amount isn't enough to retire when your in your early fifties and kids in college. So I'm still working and my hobbies cost money too. Who wants to retire and set around afraid to spent any money on enjoying your hobbies? I would say your comparison of the posters on this board to the average baby boomer is quite flawed IMHO. 
Apr 6, 2011 8:22PM
Because we are heavily invested, we find we can fuss about a lot of things, political and economic. Money managers handle a lot of our funds and we play with some as a hobby to see if we can beat the pro's. We have this money because we didn't spend every dollar we earned and worrying about fuel cost and other day to day expenses has gotten to be a side effect of our success at growing our money. Oh and a lot of us buy 1-2 year old Used vehicles every 5 to 10 years with cash.
Apr 6, 2011 5:33PM
Game over, take your ball, err gas can and go home. Don't play their game once it has minimal benefit for you. Is it patriotic to support this cluster **** CONgress?
Apr 7, 2011 10:40AM
We have an uphill battle today....Plenty of manipulators in action on and off the floor...At exactly 1030 hrs they called to accelerate the selling, why? Because they can....We are dropping and sell orders keep on coming...Scumbags taking control down here...Hopefully this afternoon something can be done...This morning appears shot...Oh well....Cheaters still kings on Wall Street
Apr 6, 2011 6:37PM
What party is going to push for a national voting progress? One social security number one vote on line. I can pay my credit card on line securely why not vote. Every bill that goes through the House could be voted on, not just the representative that says one thing to get elected and than kisses butt when they get to Washington.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (-0.1%) continues hovering right below its flat line with heavily-weighted sectors like financials (-0.2%), industrials (-0.1%), and technology (-0.5%) pressuring the broader market.

On the upside, countercyclical telecom services (+0.6%) and utilities (+0.7%) sport solid gains, but the two groups carry little influence over the broader market since they represent just 5.4% of the entire S&P 500. Meanwhile, the top-weighted sector-technology-accounts ... More


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