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US major and small-cap stocks mark record highs as oil prices surge

US bellwether and small-cap marked intraday highs on Monday as oil prices pushed energy stocks north
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A new dawn for oil prices awakens?

US bellwether and small-cap marked intraday highs on Monday as oil prices pushed energy stocks north.

Among the top-tier tickers, the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite all logged modest advances on the day, enough to push the trio to new record peaks, just like last Thursday.

The S&P 500 index closed up 0.3% to 2,190. Earlier it marked a record high of 2,193.

The US oil benchmark WTI was up 2.7% to $45.71 and Brent Crude earlier eyed $50 a barrel after renewed hopes that the Saudis will pressure OPEC to curb oil output and revitalise sickly low energy prices.

The S&P midcap 400 closed up 0.7% at 1,569 while the S&P Smallcap 600 was up 0.9% at 750 – a record high close. Earlier, the small-cap ticker hit an intraday record high of 751.99.

As reported by Proactive Investor, hedge fund manager David Tepper increased his stake in Quorum Health (NYSE:QHC), and the stock jumped 15% to become the top riser among S&P 600 stocks this session.


Midsession

US stocks resumed chalking up ever higher record levels at midsession on Monday as oil prices jumped higher after recent comments from OPEC and Saudi Arabia raised hopes for an output freeze as early as next month.

The market bellwether S&P 500 index was up 0.4% at 2,191 – having earlier marked 2,193 – a fresh intraday high.

Although the market last week was dubious about the chances for an output curb at Sweptember’s informal meeting, the US oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up 2.7% to $45.67 – a three-week high. Brent crude futures were even eyeing $50 a barrel on Monday.

The S&P, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq all hit record highs on Thursday – the first time they have achieved that feat since 1999.

No surprise the energy sector led the S&P risers. Chesapeake Energy Corp (NYSE:CHK) was the top gainer of 9.1% to $5.47 followed by Transocean Ltd (NYSE:RIG) up 6.3% to $10.52.

The S&P Midcap 400 was up 0.8% to 1,570 and led by Denbury Resources (NYSE:DNR) up 10.4% to $3.18.

The S&P Smallcap 600 was up 1% to 751.

“Following an undesired inventory build-up in late 2014/early 2015, five consecutive quarters of slower growth in production relative to demand have trimmed inventories,” said Mickey Levy, Chief Economist, US, Americas and Asia at Berenberg Bank.

“The outright inventory liquidation in Q2 2016 was extremely rare during an economic expansion,” he added.


Open

Wall Street equities opened the week positively, pushing higher after last week’s record highs.

The move higher is supported by another mini rally in oil prices. West Texas crude futures pushed up 1.4% to just above US$45 per barrel, while Brent was changing hands at around US$47.50.

Positive European markets and hopes for new Chinese stimulus added encouragement to investors.

In New York the Dow Jones started about 50 points, nearly 0.3%, higher at 18,626 while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose 0.3% and 0.4% to 2,190 and 5,254 respectively.

Mergers and acquisition talk provides some distraction on a summers day.

Post Properties Inc (NYSE:PPS) was a notable early riser, up 8.26% to US$67.36, after the apartment real estate investment trust agreed to be bought out by a rival in US$4bn deal.

General Motors (NYSE:GM) was reportedly vying for Uber rival Lyft, although the media reports have yet to be substantiated.

Water treatment group Xylem (NYSE:XYL) moved higher with the news that its being bought out with private equity money, in a deal worth US$1.7bn.

Elsewhere, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and video games developer Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI) were both in focus after regulatory filings revealed hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb has been picking up shares into his Third Point fund.


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