U.S. stock indexes were mixed midday Thursday, as the beaten-down oil stocks rebounded on crude’s move above $50 a barrel.
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average inched up 0.1%, while the Nasdaq fell 0.2%. The small cap Russell 2000 was flat and the S&P 500 eased 0.1%.
XAutoplay: On | OffPrices reflected a positive reversal. Earlier in the session, the Nasdaq was off about 0.6%.
Volume in the stock market today was running higher on the NYSE but lower on the Nasdaq.
Among IBD’s 197 industry groups, oil held the top seven slots for the day. Oil and gas explorer Rice Energy (RICE) leaped 4% to just under a potential buy point at 29.65. There aren’t too many oil stocks near 52-week highs or buy points, but Rice’s earnings are expected to jump 294% this year.
Another oil stock showing improved chart action is Dow Jones industrial average component Chevron (CVX). The integrated oil stock at one point advanced almost 1%, driving to nearly 3% off a new high and a potential breakout from a nine-month base. The saucer base is first stage and only 14% deep.
West Texas intermediate crude oil jumped 2% to $50.41 a barrel. Bloomberg News reported that OPEC and the International Energy Agency raised their projections for demand. In August, the global oil supply fell for the first time in four months.
About three months ago, light sweet crude hit a low of $42.05. Since then, the price has rebounded about 20%. However, a rise over $50 in late July proved fleeting as a 10% drop preceded the current rally.
Natural gas futures, meanwhile, rose to as high as $3.10 per million BTU, the highest level since May 2016.
In the IBD 50, a list of the best stocks in fundamentals and technicals, advancing issues led declining issues by a 3-to-2 ratio. Chip equipment maker Applied Materials (AMAT) rose 2%, while China Lodging (HTHT) dropped 2%.
In a press release, homebuilder Lennar (LEN) said damage from Hurricane Irma was mild. The stock moved sideways on the news. The iShares U.S. Home Construction (ITB) exchange-traded fund has been finding resistance around 35 since July. Support recently emerged at 33.