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S&P 500 ends higher as oil stocks rally; Tesla tumbles

April 3, 2023By Reuters

April 3 (Reuters) – The S&P 500 ended higher on Monday, lifted by energy stocks following surprise cuts to the OPEC+ group’s oil output targets, while Tesla tumbled after its electric vehicle deliveries for the first quarter disappointed investors.

Tesla Inc (TSLA) dropped 6.1% after disclosing March-quarter deliveries rose just 4% from the previous quarter, even after CEO Elon Musk slashed car prices in January to boost demand.

The S&P 500 energy sector index surged 4.9% after Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ oil producers announced unexpected output cuts that could push oil prices toward USD 100 a barrel. Chevron Corp (CVX), Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) and Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY) all rallied more than 4%.

However, the prospect of higher oil costs added to inflation worries on Wall Street just days after evidence of cooling prices raised expectations that the US Federal Reserve might soon end its aggressive monetary tightening campaign.

“The decision to cut production is a headwind for inflation … and that’s why, on balance we’re seeing a generally ‘risk off’ bias,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

The Dow was lifted in part by a 4.6% rally in UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH) on better-than-proposed Medicare Advantage rates for 2024.

Investors worried about inflation drew comfort from surveys by the Institute for Supply Management and S&P Global that reflected weakness in manufacturing activity in March.

Interest rate futures imply 56% odds the Fed will raise rates by 25 basis points at its meeting in May, and 44% odds it will keep interest rates unchanged, according to CME Group’s Fedwatch tool.

The S&P 500 climbed 0.37% to end the session at 4,124.49 points.

The Nasdaq declined 0.27% to 12,189.45 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.98% to 33,601.15 points.

Despite turbulence in the global banking sector, the S&P 500 jumped 7% in the first quarter and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rallied 17%.

First-quarter earnings season is around the corner, with big banks among the first to report in coming weeks and offer details about the sector’s overall health after the March collapse of Silicon Valley Bank sparked a fears of a broader industry crisis.

Across the US stock market, advancing stocks outnumbered falling ones by a 1.1-to-one ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 20 new highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 85 new highs and 121 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was relatively light, with 10.9 billion shares traded, compared with an average of 12.7 billion shares over the previous 20 sessions.

(Reporting by Ankika Biswas and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru and by Noel Randewich in Oakland, California; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Matthew Lewis)


This article originally appeared on reuters.com

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