Gains by oil-linked shares boost Wall Street

VIDEO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks bounced on Wednesday (Sept 6) as petroleum-linked shares surged on higher oil prices due to the resumption of normal operations at some Gulf Coast refineries.

Dow members ExxonMobil and Chevron each advanced more than 2 per cent as activity restarted at Texas refineries and boosted demand.

Oil services giant Halliburton gained 3 per cent and Schlumberger climbed 1 per cent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 per cent to close the session at 21,807.64.

The broad-based S&P 500 also gained 0.3 per cent to 2,465.54, as did the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index which ended at 6,393.31.

US stocks had fallen sharply on Tuesday on worries about North Korea. Analysts said the diplomacy had not changed significantly overnight though the situation over the Asian country's nuclear efforts remained fraught.

The Federal Reserve's beige book survey said the US economy continued to grow at "a modest to moderate pace" in July and August, although the Gulf Coast suffered "broad disruptions" due to Hurricane Harvey.

The central bank said it was too soon to measure the full impact of the storms.

CFRA investment strategist Sam Stovall predicted the bull market would not "blown off course" by the Harvey or by Hurricane Irma, which is approaching Florida.

"We remain encouraged that stocks have successfully steered around domestic and geopolitical potholes that would otherwise have swallowed up less confident markets," Stovall said.

Home-improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe's both gained nearly 2.5 per cent on expectations the storms will boost sales.

United Continental fell 1.3 per cent after projecting a third quarter decline of between 3 and 5 per cent of a closely-watched ratio of revenue per available seat mile, worse than prior range for a drop of 1 per cent to a gain of 1 per cent.