Markets & Finance

Stocks Finish Higher

A drop in oil prices -- despite a report showing lower U.S. crude inventories -- and an upward revision to first-quarter GDP lifted sentiment

Major U.S. stock indexes finished higher Thursday, though below earlier highs, following a dramatic reversal lower for oil prices, which plunged despite a huge decrease in U.S. crude inventories.

A report on U.S. economic growth in the first quarter was revised slightly higher. S&P MarketScope cites a growing perception that the U.S. escaped recession as second-quarter GDP is expected to rise as well. Weekly initial jobless claims were slightly higher.

Bonds fell but closed up from session lows following an apparent asset allocation program to equities from debt. The dollar index was solidly higher. Gold futures were lower.

On Thursday, the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average finished higher by 52.19 points, or 0.41%, to 12,646.22. The broader S&P 500 index added 7.42 points, or 0.53%, to close at 1,398.26. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index was higher by 21.62 points, or 0.87%, ending the session at 2,519.90.

Activity in the broader market was positive, with 19 stocks rising in price for every 11 that declined on the New York Stock Exchange. The ratio on the Nasdaq was17-11 positive. Trading was sluggish, reports S&P MarketScope. Financial stocks were strong.

July West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, which hit a high of $133.12 per barrel earlier in Thursday

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