US stocks surged to close at their best levels in a number of months on 18 April despite a disappointing meeting in Doha, Qatar between major oil producers and a decline in crude futures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed 18,000 for the first time since July 2015, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite saw their best close since December.
The Dow closed 106.70 points, or 0.6%, higher to settle at 18,004.16. According to MarketWatch, a 2.9% surge by Walt Disney Co helped push the blue chip index higher but this was offset by a 2.2% decline by Apple Inc. Home Depot and Chevron also contributed to gains to help the index record its first close above the 18,000 level since 20 July 2015, when it ended at 18,100.
"It's pretty amazing we're back to the levels we're at," JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade, told CNBC. "The encouraging thing to me is we're getting strength from somewhere different every day."
The S&P 500 rose 13.61 points, or 0.7%, to settle at 2,094.34, its best level since 1 December. The energy sector led the index lower earlier in the session with a 1.3% decline but managed to turn around and closed up 1.6%. The index's 10 sectors all closed in positive territory, with consumer discretionary and healthcare the second and third best performers.
The Nasdaq surged 21.80 points, or 0.4%, settling at 4,960.02, its highest since 31 December. All three major indices managed to close higher despite a decline in US crude oil futures, which settled down 58 cents, or 1.4%, at $39.78 a barrel. According to CNBC, crude oil could receive the necessary support — in the short term — from news that Kuwait had cut down production considerably following an oil-worker strike.
Crude oil and the energy sector were down significantly earlier in the session over news that the major oil producing countries' meeting on 17 April failed to produce a deal. It however managed to bounce back from the day's lows. "It was a worry where we could escape the oil vortex, but obviously that's loosened up," Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Asset Management Group said. "The knee-jerk reaction was a selloff, but we did turn around on better earnings news."
The disappointing results of the meeting in Doha influenced the markets overseas. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1.4% and the Nikkei 225 lost 3.4%. In Europe, however, the Stoxx Europe 600 turned around and closed higher.
According to CNBC, treasury yields ended higher, with the 2-year yield around 0.74% and the 10-year yield near 1.77%. The US dollar index turned lower, with the euro at $1.131 and the yen at about 108.8 yen against the greenback. Gold futures for June delivery rose to settle 40 cents higher at $1,235 an ounce.