S&P 500, Dow edge up as oil holds on to gains

Earnings continue to drive stocks higher, with the S&P 500 climbing towards a new record high.
Kuwaiti oil workers sitting at the union's headquarters in Al-Ahmadi, 35km south of Kuwait City, on April 19, 2016.
Kuwaiti oil workers sitting at the union's headquarters in Al-Ahmadi, 35km south of Kuwait City, on April 19, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones industrial average were slightly higher on Tuesday as crude rose after an oil workers' strike in Kuwait hurt output.

The Nasdaq composite edged lower.

Crude rose more than 1 per cent, shrugging off Sunday's failed talks among producers to tackle a global glut. A recent rebound in crude, some signs of a slow recovery in the U.S. economy and the Federal Reserve's caution over raising interest rates have helped stocks rally in the last two months.

On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 18,000 mark for the first time since July. The S&P 500 closed just 40 points below the record high it touched last May. However, traders seemed cautious about the sustainability of higher oil prices.

"Really, it's like a party that's gone on for too long. It just takes one little thing to happen and the party breaks up and people run out like roaches," said Phil Davis, chief executive of PSW Investments.

At 9:43 a.m. ET (9:43 p.m Singapore time) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 34 points, or 0.19 per cent, at 18,038.16, the S&P 500 was up 3.11 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 2,097.45 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 14.52 points, or 0.29 per cent, at 4,945.50.

Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 0.95 per cent rise in the materials sector.

While U.S. corporate earnings are seen as a swing factor for the stock market, expectations are bleak. First-quarter earnings at S&P 500 companies are expected to fall 7.7 per cent on average, and revenue by 1.3 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.