Stocks gain as oil prices rise above $33 a barrel

March 01 02:06 2016

U.S. stocks snapped out of a morning malaise and posted moderate gains Monday as oil prices rose and global stocks fell after a meeting of G20 finance officials ended without pledges for joint action to stimulate sagging global economic growth. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 64 points, or 0.4%, to just above 16,700 at noon ET. The Standard & Poor’s 500 added 0.4%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 0.5%. Oil prices rose as U.S. benchmark crude gained 2.4% to $33.55 a barrel. The rally came after stocks posted a second straight week of gains Friday as oil prices held steady, China’s top central banker eased market fears and a report on U.S. economic growth showed the economy wasn’t as weak in the fourth quarter as previously thought.1215-stock-market_full_600

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 of the world’s biggest economies said they would use “all tools” at their disposal to bolster weak global growth at a meeting in Shanghai on Saturday. They also vowed not devalue their currencies to boost exports. They said the global economy is healthy, but acknowledged they need to do more to boost its growth without announcing any joint plan of action. In economic news Monday, fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in January, as the recent hot streak appears to have been curbed by a shortage of properties for sale and colder weather.

The National Association of Realtors said that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index fell 2.5 percent to 106 in January. The decline comes after the sales index averaged 108.9 in 2015, its highest level since 2006. Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 1% to close at 16,026.76 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.3% to 19,111.93. The Shanghai composite index plunged 2.9% to 2,687.98 after officials guided the yuan sharply lower.

European benchmarks mostly fell in early trading, with Germany’s DAX tumbling 1% and France’s CAC 40 dropping 0.1%. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.2%. Official figures showed that inflation across the 19-country eurozone turned negative in February, a development that will boost expectations that the European Central Bank will unveil another stimulus package at its next policy meeting on March 10. Investor sentiment is also cautious ahead of the release of a slew of economic data this week. Surveys of purchasing managers in the manufacturing and service sectors are due Tuesday for China, the U.S. and other countries in Asia and Europe.