By CCN Markets: The Dow diverged from the broader U.S. stock market on Friday and was last seen eyeing its fifth consecutive gain as rising oil prices pushed energy blue-chips higher.
Dow Edges Higher; S&P 500, Nasdaq Slip
The U.S. stock market opened slightly lower on Friday, reflecting a tepid pre-market for Dow futures following a record-setting rally during the previous session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 58.52 points, or 0.2%, to 26,811.69, its highest level of the year.
Chevron Corp (NYSE: CVX) was the Dow’s top performer, gaining 1.4%. Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM), another energy blue-chip, rose 0.9%. Banks JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) also rose.
After being down for most of the morning session, the broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks edged up 0.1% to 2,955.55. Gains were largely concentrated in energy and financials shares. On the opposite side of the ledger, utilities, health care and real estate stocks all fell.
The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index pared earlier losses to trade flat at 8,052.62.
Iran-U.S. Tensions Escalate
The threat of military confrontation between the United States and Iran intensified on Friday after President Trump revealed that he had approved a strike against the Islamic Republic for shooting down an American spy drone. The decision to strike was abruptly reversed after officials informed him that retaliation would leave hundreds of people dead.
“10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” Trump tweeted Friday.
….On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
As The New York Times reported, President Trump had initially approved attacks on several Iranian targets from radar to missile batteries.
Tensions in the Strait of Hormuz have been a boon to oil prices less than a week after the black commodity entered bear-market territory. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark for U.S. crude futures surged 5.4% on Thursday. On Friday, it was up another 0.9% to $57.59 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international futures benchmark, was back above $65.00 a barrel on London’s ICE futures exchange.