Wall Street pushed higher Thursday after a surge in oil prices helped resuscitate beaten-down energy stocks. The gains helped overshadow another report showing the coronavirus outbreak is forcing a record-breaking number of Americans into the unemployment queue, per the AP. The S&P 500 rose more than 2% in morning trading after flipping between small gains and losses shortly after the open. At midday, the Dow was up more than 400 points. The markets took off with the price of oil, which surged immediately after President Trump tweeted that he expects Saudi Arabia and Russia to back away from their price war.
The two sides have continued to pull oil out of the ground to maintain their market share, even as demand for energy cratered because of stay-at-home orders and other economy-damaging restrictions wrought by the coronavirus outbreak. The resulting buildup of oil supplies sent crude’s price spiraling by roughly two thirds in the first three months of the year. Benchmark US crude oil was up 25% at $25.58 per barrel, rallying back after dropping below $20 last month to its lowest price since 2002. At the year's start, oil was above $60. That helped energy stocks in the S&P 500 rally 11%, by far the biggest gain among the 11 sectors that make up the index. Read the full story for more.
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