Energy Shares Lead Wall Street Higher, Dow Sets Record

Markets Reuters

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday as energy stocks led the S&P 500 and Dow, while Biogen's rally on news about an experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease topped gains at the Nasdaq.

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The day's gains were broad, with nine of the 10 S&P 500 industry sectors higher. The only group to fall was telecoms <.SPLRCL>, down 1.8 percent with AT&T <T.N> down 2.2 percent at $34.29 and Verizon <VZ.N> down 1.8 percent at $49.11. Sprint announced it will cut in half the monthly price of service for Verizon and AT&T customers who switch to Sprint.

Energy shares on the S&P 500 <.SPNY> rose 1.3 percent even as crude oil prices resumed their fall. U.S. crude <CLc1> fell 2.4 percent to near a five-year low while Brent <LCOc1> lost 2.3 percent.

Exxon Mobil <XOM.N> and Chevron <CVX.N> were among the largest gainers on both the Dow and the S&P, up about 2 percent each.

"The market is sniffing out a bottom in the underlying commodity and we are seeing a bounce in energy stocks from having been oversold in the last month or so," said John Manley, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in New York.

"It's in no one's interest for oil to go any lower; not in ours, or OPEC’s," he said, adding that it is still a big benefit for consumers but the marginal gain with even lower gas would not be much bigger.

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The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 102.75 points, or 0.58 percent, to 17,879.55, a record high. The S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 13.11 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,066.55 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 28.46 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,755.81.

Carmaker shares advanced as the top six automakers sold more cars and trucks in November than analysts expected. GM <GM.N> gained 1 percent to $33.26 and Fiat Chrysler <FCAU.N> gained 3 percent to $13.09.

Biogen Idec <BIIB.O> advanced 6.4 percent to $328.27. The company is planning a late-stage trial of its experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease after the drug significantly improved cognition in a small early-stage study.

Avanir Pharmaceuticals <AVNR.O> was among the most traded stocks on the Nasdaq, rising 12.8 percent to $16.92. Japanese drugmaker Otsuka Holdings <4578.T> plans to buy it for about $3.5 billion.

About two issues advanced for every decliner on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.

The S&P 500 posted 89 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite set 102 new highs and 95 new lows.

About 6.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, according to BATS Global Markets data, above the daily average last month of about 6.17 billion.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Nick Zieminski)