MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Bounce As Biotech Shares Extend Rally

By Sara Sjolin and Anora Mahmudova, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Oracle shares surge after earnings beat estimates

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U.S. stock-market indexes staged a modest rebound with the main indexes trading higher on Thursday, driven by gains in health-care and energy sectors.

The S&P 500 was up by 4 points, or 0.2%, at 2,437, with six of the 11 main sectors trading higher. Health-care stocks led gains, up 1.1%, as the lawmakers release "discussion draft" of the health-care bill. Energy shares were up 0.6% following a 1.4% gain in oil futures.

Meanwhile financials and consumer-staples shares were leading losses, down about 0.5%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 43 points, or 0.2%, to 21,456.

The Nasdaq Composite Index traded 7 points, or 0.1%, higher at 6,241, but biotechnology shares extended Wednesday's rally. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/biotech-etf-ibb-on-pace-for-best-weekly-gain-7-months-2017-06-22)(IBB) was up 1.4%, led by gains by sharp gains in shares of anitbody-therapy company XBiotech Inc.(XBIT) and genomic-therapies company Sangamo Therapeutics Inc. (SGMO) up 14% and 6%, respectively.

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Thursday's tepid moves come after moderate losses on Wednesday, with indexes closing in negative territory for a second straight session. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-set-for-2nd-day-in-red-as-oil-continues-to-roil-markets-2017-06-21)

The tech-heavy index rose 0.7% on Wednesday as biotech shares surged more than 4%, after the New York Times reported that President Donald Trump has drafted an executive order (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/drug-stocks-surge-on-report-that-president-trump-plans-to-ease-industry-regulations-2017-06-21-139139) that would ease drug industry regulations.

Stock-index futures had traded in deeper negative territory before the market open Thursday, but pared losses after oil prices rebounded from a 10-month low. West Texas Intermediate oil futures climbed 0.7% to $42.82 a barrel, after trading as low as $42.26 earlier in the session.

On Tuesday, WTI slipped into bear-market territory, defined as a drop of at least 20% from a recent peak, as fears over rising supply from the U.S., Nigeria and Libya gripped the market.

"It looks like oil prices decoupled from the U.S. equity market as investors realize that lower oil prices are not a sign of weakening global demand and therefore economic slowdown, but rather its due to excessive supply from the U.S., Iran and Russia," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist, at Prudential Financial.

Krosby noted that lack of economic data and earnings releases is likely to result in tepid moves for the next few weeks.

Economic news and Fed speakers: The leading economic index climbed 0.3% in May and offered further proof the U.S. continues to grow at a steady clip.

Earlier, a report on weekly jobless claims (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-jobless-claims-edge-up-3000-to-24100-2017-06-22) showed that fewer than 250,000 Americans applied for unemployment benefits in mid-June, underscoring the strength of a U.S. jobs market whose biggest problem is a growing shortage of qualified worker.

Stock movers: Shares of Oracle Corp.(ORCL) leapt 12%, and were on pace for their best daily gain in three years, after its earnings out late Wednesday easily beat analyst expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oracle-soars-toward-record-highs-after-earnings-beat-2017-06-21).

Read:Oracle leaps to record as cloud transition hits turning point (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oracle-leaps-to-record-as-cloud-transition-hits-turning-point-2017-06-21)

Shares of Staples Inc.(SPLS) surged 7.3% after Reuters late Wednesday reported that private-equity firm Sycamore Partners is in advanced talks to acquire the office supplies retailer.

Shares of CarMax Inc.(KMX) surged nearly 5% after analyst at RBC Capital raised the stock to outperform form sector perform.

Apple Inc.(AAPL) shares were off by 0.2%. Imagination Technologies Group PLC(IMG.LN), which counts Apple as its biggest customer, said it has put itself up for sale (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/imagination-shares-surge-16-after-putting-itself-up-for-sale-following-apple-dispute-2017-06-22) after a battle with the iPhone maker.

Other markets: Stock markets in Asia closed mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/metals-help-australian-stocks-rebound-other-asian-markets-calm-2017-06-21), with Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index as the outperformer as metals rebounded. Gold was up 0.6% at $1,253.4.

All major European markets were lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-dragged-down-by-oil-shares-for-third-session-2017-06-22). The ICE Dollar Index was slightly lower at 97.539, as were yields on the 10-year Treasurys, down 2 basis points to 2.14%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 22, 2017 11:14 ET (15:14 GMT)