A solid rally in U.S. stocks ran out of momentum in the final two hours of the session, with the main indexes ending only modestly higher Thursday.
A jump in oil prices helped lift the overall market, but uncertainty ahead of the Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting next week made for volatile trade and kept a lid on gains.
The S&P 500 SPX, +0.53% closed 10.25 points, or 0.5%, higher at 1,952.29. Technology and health-care stocks led the gains, while nine of the index’s 10 main sectors finished higher. The main benchmark is still down 5.2% year to date, however.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.47% gained 76.83 points, or 0.5%, to 16,330.40, with 23 out of the 30 blue-chip companies finishing in positive territory. The blue-chip index is down 7.3% from the start of the year.
The Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.84% ended the day up 39.72 points, or 0.8%, at 4,796.25, while its biggest component, Apple Inc. AAPL, +2.20%jumped 2.6%. The tech-heavy index is up 1.3% year to date, having outperformed other main indexes.
“While we are seeing big swings in both directions, markets are not making a forward progress and that’s likely to continue over the next few months,” said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors.