Dow back in black for 2015 as oil shares bounce

The Dow pushed back into positive territory for 2015 on Monday.
The Dow pushed back into positive territory for 2015 on Monday. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Dow pushed back into positive territory for 2015 on Monday (Nov 2), lifted by a technical bounce in petroleum shares and data showing a seven-year peak in US construction spending.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 165.22 points (0.94 per cent) to 17,828.76, moving the blue-chip index into the black for the year for the first time since July.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 24.69 (1.19 per cent) at 2,104.05, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 73.40 (1.45 per cent) to 5,127.15.

September spending on building new homes, highways and other projects came in at an annual pace of US$1.09 trillion (S$1.52 trillion), the highest level since March 2008. That offset a lacklustre reading from the Institute for Supply Management on manufacturing sector activity.

Analysts said big rallies in Dow members ExxonMobil (+3.1 per cent) and Chevron (+4.5 per cent) were due to technical factors; the gains in those and other oil shares came as crude prices fell.

Pharma stocks were other gainers, including Dow member Pfizer (+3.7 per cent), AbbVie (+6.4 per cent) and Biogen (+4.3 per cent).

Tech shares were also strong, with Apple, Facebook, Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft all adding more than one per cent.

Embattled drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International jumped 7.2 per cent after short-seller Citron Research said it was not publishing new allegations against Valeant, backing off a prior threat. Citron had likened Valeant to Enron in a prior note.

Chipotle Mexican Grill dropped 2.5 per cent as it shut 43 restaurants in the states of Oregon and Washington due to an outbreak of E. coli that regulators said has so far affected 22 people.

The two pieces of Hewlett Packard went in different directions on the first day of trade since the company split up. HP Inc, which provides software and printers, jumped 13.0 per cent, while Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which focuses on cloud computing, lost 1.6 per cent.

Biopharmaceutical company Dyax surged 28.4 per cent on news it will be acquired by Dublin-based Shire for US$5.9 billion.