Stocks edge higher, helped by big move in crude oil

|By:, SA News Editor

Stocks held on for a second straight session for gains, helped by a few stronger than expected quarterly earnings reports and sharply higher oil prices.

Energy companies were easily the biggest gainers of the day, as WTI crude oil settled 2.6% higher at $51.60/bbl, its highest level since July 2015.

Morgan Stanley, Halliburton, Abbott Labs and BB&T were among the companies that beat expectations on both earnings and revenue, while Intel also reported better than expected results but fell 5.9% on light revenue guidance.

Eight S&P sectors ended in positive territory, led by energy (+1.4%), financials (+0.8%), materials (+0.7%) and consumer discretionary (+0.5%).

Stocks were not affected by the Fed Beige Book, which indicated that the U.S. economy was continuing its modest but steady expansion.

Today's trading volume came in below the recent average, as 798M shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.

Treasury yields finished little changed across the curve, with the two-year yield settling at 0.80% while the benchmark 10-year yield finished at 1.74%.