Dow gains, Day 4
Blue-chip average ekes out gains as investors show caution after previous session's rally; higher oil hinders broader market.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Dow Jones industrial average rose for the fourth straight session Thursday as the broader market struggled a day after the big Federal Reserve-fueled rally.
The Dow (up 13.62 to 12,461.14, Charts) rose 0.1 percent. The broader S&P 500 (down 0.50 to 1,434.54, Charts) index fell just below breakeven. The Nasdaq (down 4.18 to 2,451.74, Charts) composite lost 0.2 percent.
All three major gauges surged Wednesday after the Fed opted to hold a key interest rate steady at 5.25 percent, as expected, and seemed to hint the bank was more likely to cut rates than raise them in the near term.
"Yesterday's run up was a celebration," said Harry Clark, chief executive of Clark Capital Management. But it was also overdone, he added.
Investors are showing more caution today, Clark said, and are likely to continue to do so. "We're in for another two or three weeks of choppiness," he said.
Another big influence on Thursday's session: the run-up in oil prices, which boosted energy stocks and dragged on airlines and other transportation companies.
U.S. light crude oil for May delivery jumped $2.08 to $61.69 a barrel, a gain of more than 3 percent, on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The rise in crude oil prices gave a lift to energy stocks including Sunoco (up $0.92 to $70.31, Charts), ConocoPhillips (up $1.51 to $68.68, Charts) and Exxon Mobil (up $1.13 to $74.36, Charts), which was the Dow's biggest gainer.
Motorola warned Wednesday that it will post a first-quarter loss and that full-year sales will miss forecasts, owing to weak sales of mobile devices. The company also said its chief financial officer would retire effective April 1. Motorola (down $1.24 to $17.50, Charts) shares slid more than 6 percent Thursday.
In other news, News Corp. (down $0.05 to $24.75, Charts) and GE (up $0.33 to $35.81, Charts)-owned NBC Universal said they are creating an online video site that will seek to compete with Google (up $5.49 to $462.04, Charts)'s YouTube.
Market breadth was positive. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners edged out losers on volume of 1.6 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners by a slim margin on volume of 1.9 billion shares.
Investors also eyed the weekly jobless claims report, which showed a surprise decline.
A separate report, the index of leading economic indicators, declined 0.5 percent in February after sliding 0.3 percent in the previous month. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com thought it would fall 0.3 percent.
On Friday, investors will be focused on February's report on existing home sales, due out after the opening bell.
Treasury prices slumped, raising the yield on the 10-year note to about 4.58 percent from 4.54 percent late Wednesday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
In currency trading, the dollar fell versus the euro and rose modestly versus the yen.
COMEX gold for April delivery added $4.20 to $664.20 an ounce.