Stocks make gains, oil prices rise as OPEC raises production

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks turned higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday, but remained choppy amid wariness about economic growth and rising interest rates.

The S&P 500 rose 0.7% as of 12:11 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 76 points, or 0.2%, to 32,890 and the Nasdaq rose 1.4%.

Technology stocks, whose lofty values tend to give the broader market a harder push higher or lower, shook off an early stumble and gained ground. Chipmaker Nvidia jumped 5.6% and software maker Adobe rose 2.6%.

Companies that rely on direct consumer spending and some big industrial firms gained ground. Expedia Group rose 1.9% and Boeing rose 3.6%.

Small company stocks rose, signaling confidence about economic growth. The Russell 2000 gained 1.4%.

Bond yields were relatively stable. The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which helps set interest rates on mortgages and other loans, fell to 2.92% from 2.93% from late Wednesday.

Health care companies and utilities fell. Drug developer Eli Lilly slipped 3%.

U.S. crude oil prices rose 1.4%, despite the OPEC oil cartel and allied producing countries including Russia said they will raise production by 648,000 barrels per day in July and August.

Rising energy prices have been feeding inflation, which is already at its highest levels in four decades. U.S. gasoline prices hit another record high Thursday, with the average price at the pump costing $4.71 per gallon, according to motoring club federation AAA.

Investors remain focused on the balance between inflation, rising interest rates and economic growth. The Federal Reserve is being closely watched as it tries to temper the impact from inflation by raising interest rates from historic lows during the pandemic.

Several economic reports on Wednesday bolstered expectations for the Fed to keep raising interest rates aggressively. Wall Street is concerned that the Fed could slow economic growth too much and potentially send the economy into a recession.

High inflation is meanwhile eating into corporate profits, while the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 restrictions in China have also weighed on markets.

Investors continue monitoring corporate earnings and financial updates. Microsoft fell 1.5% after cutting its financial forecasts for the current quarter, citing unfavorable changes in exchange rates. Online pet store Chewy rose 19% after reporting strong earnings.

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