Big gains in energy and materials sector stocks were lifting markets for the second-straight session on Wednesday. The S&P 500 energy sector rose 1.7% and materials was up 1.3%, while the benchmark index inched up 0.3%. Energy stocks, which dropped more than 20% over the past several month due to a slide in oil prices have been volatile of late. On Tuesday, energy stocks rallied even as oil prices dropped. Analysts point out that sharp gains in beaten-down oil and gas stocks might be exacerbated due to covering of short positions. Dan Greenhaus, BTIG's chief global strategist tweeted that "since oil peaked on 6.25, just 3 names in the S&P 500 energy space are higher and 17 are down 25% or more. An absolute decimation." The top three gainers on the S&P 500 were Cimarex Energy Co , Nabors Industrias Ltd. and Newfield Exploration Co. , all up nearly 6%.
Copyright © 2014 MarketWatch, Inc.