Stocks closed higher on Wednesday for the first time this week.
And, crude oil rallied to its highest level since June, just a few cents shy of $50 per barrel, after weekly data showed an unexpected drop in inventories.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 18,290.18, +121.73, (0.67%)
- S&P 500: 2,160.15, +9.66, (0.45%)
- Nasdaq: 5,314.81, +25.16, (0.48%)
- Crude oil: $49.83, +1.14, (2.3%)
- The Institute of Supply Management’s gauge of service-sector activity rebounded in September from its weakest level in six years. The purchasing manager’s index (PMI) jumped to 57.1 after falling. This reassured economists that weakness in the economy’s largest sector in August was temporary. Markit Economics’ separate PMI rose to 52.3 in September from a preliminary reading of 51.9.
- Caelus Energy discovered an oil field that could be among the biggest ever found in Alaska. In a press release on Tuesday, the independent exploration and production company said the site could provide up to 200,000 barrels of “light, highly mobile oil” a day. It’s expected to hold 6 billion to 10 billion barrels of oil, of which about 2.4 billion are recoverable.
- Salesforce shares tanked by as much as 7% following a WSJ report that the company is interested in buying Twitter. According to the WSJ, CEO Marc Benioff thinks Twitter is an “unpolished jewel” and wants to make it a “great company.” Salesforce investors aren’t sure of the rationale behind the $20 billion price tag on Twitter.
- Shares of Booz Allen Hamilton fell by as much as 5% after a report that the FBI secretly arrested an NSA contractor who may be linked to the high-profile leak of the agency’s hacking tools. Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, is suspected of taking the top-secret computer code the agency had been using to break into computer systems of foreign adversaries. Edward Snowden was a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor.
- US private payrolls increased by 154,000 in September, according to ADP Research Institute. That gain reflected an expected slowdown, with the unemployment rate at an eight-year low and fewer people actively looking for jobs.
- Factory orders unexpectedly rose by 0.2% in August month-over-month (-0.2% expected), suggesting that sluggish business spending on capital equipment could soon reverse course. A preliminary reading on durable goods orders showed that purchases of stuff built to last rose 0.1%, and reflected upward revisions to prior prints.