Stock Market Today: Energy Leads Broad Market Snap-Back

Upbeat economic data helped provide a tailwind for most stocks, but energy really shone as tight inventories sent oil prices soaring.

oil drums
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A broad and robust relief rally that saw all but one sector finish in the green provided investors with a little respite Wednesday.

Lifting spirits were a pair of economic data points. First: This month's reading of the Empire State Manufacturing Index, which measures general business conditions in New York, nearly doubled, to 34.3 from 18.3 in August, shattering expectations.

Michael Reinking, senior market strategist for the New York Stock Exchange, notes that while the index usually isn't closely watched, being the "the first piece of September economic data the market has had to digest" might have merited the extra attention.

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Also on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released August industrial production numbers that matched estimates, rising 0.4% month-over-month.

Energy stocks (opens in new tab) (+3.7%), including the likes of EOG Resources (EOG (opens in new tab), +8.3%) and Devon Energy (DVN (opens in new tab), +7.3%), were by far the best sector performer. They were aided by a 3.1% surge in U.S. crude oil prices, to $72.61 per barrel, as U.S. inventories tightened.

The major indexes all finished with similar returns: The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.7% to 34,814, the S&P 500 improved 0.9% to 4,480, and the Nasdaq Composite snapped its five-session skid with a 0.8% gain to 15,161.

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Other news in the stock market today:

  • The small-cap Russell 2000 jumped 1.1% to 2,234.
  • It was a second day of sharp losses for casino stocks after the Macau government kicked off a 45-day review of casino operations in the Chinese territory. The process is being conducted as a means of garnering public input on amending gambling laws, with speculation swirling that it could lead to stricter regulations for casino operators. Among today's notable decliners were Wynn Resorts (WYNN (opens in new tab), -6.3%), MGM Resorts International (MGM (opens in new tab), -2.5%) and Las Vegas Sands (LVS (opens in new tab), -1.7%).
  • SoFi Technologies (SOFI (opens in new tab), +6.6%) got a boost today after Mizuho Americas analysts Dan Dolev and Ryan Coyne initiated coverage of the fintech stock with a Buy. "SoFi is a one-stop shop digital financial services firm that is in the midst of a powerful transition to a full-fledged mobile-first, super-app neo-bank with in-house next-gen issuing capabilities," they wrote in a note to clients. SoFi went public in early June via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
  • Gold futures shed 0.7% to end at $1,794.80 an ounce.
  • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) retreated by 6.4% to 18.21.
  • Bitcoin had another strong day, advancing 3.5% to $48,099.15. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

stock chart for 091521

(Image credit: YCharts)

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Kyle Woodley
Senior Investing Editor, Kiplinger.com

Kyle is senior investing editor for Kiplinger.com. As a writer and columnist, he also specializes in exchange-traded funds. He joined Kiplinger in September 2017 after spending six years at InvestorPlace.com, where he managed the editorial staff. His work has appeared in several outlets, including U.S. News & World Report and MSN Money, he has appeared as a guest on Fox Business Network and Money Radio, and he has been quoted in MarketWatch, Vice and Univision, among other outlets. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a BA in journalism.