Stock Market News for February 24, 2017

Benchmarks mostly finished in the green on Thursday, buoyed by gains in energy shares and a renewed vow by Trump to bring back millions of jobs to the U.S. Oil prices moved north, which eventually helped energy shares gain traction. Smaller-than-expected rise in crude inventory level boosted oil prices . Meantime, Trump met a few chief executives of the country's biggest manufacturers and pledged to return jobs to millions in the U.S. His campaign promises, including a job-boosting tax or infrastructure program, is likely to reverse a decade-long decline in factory jobs.

The Dow notched a 10th straight record high and the S&P 500 ended in the green. But, the Nasdaq finished in negative territory amid persistent concerns about lofty valuations.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today's Ahead of Wall Street article.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) advanced 0.2% to close at 20,810.32. The index registered its longest run of record closes since 1987. The S&P 500 gained a meagre 0.04% to close at 2,363.81. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,835.51, decreasing 0.4%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) went up 1.5% to settle at 11.74. A total of around 6.5 billion shares were traded on Wednesday, below the last 20-session average of 6.8 billion, while declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE.

Oil Prices Gain

Oil prices ends at a 19-month high following smaller-than-expected rise in inventories. U.S. commercial crude-oil inventories rose by 600,000 barrels in the week ended Feb. 17, according to the Energy Information Administration. In contrast, analysts had forecasted a rise of 3.4 million barrels. U.S. crude price rose 86 cents, or 1.6%, to end at $54.45 a barrel, while Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 74 cents, or 1.3%, to end at $56.58 a barrel.

The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) moved 0.4% higher. Key energy companies including Exxon Mobil Corporation ( XOM ) and Chevron Corporation ( CVX ) increased 1.1% and 0.6%, respectively. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

Trump's Pledge

Trump turned to manufacturing executives and powerful business leaders, praising their efforts toward generating jobs in the U.S. and pledged to bring back jobs, which corporate America has outsourced to other countries in search of cheaper labor.

In his first month in office, Trump insisted many top executives to hire in the U.S., while he promised to roll out favorable proposals, including a plan to overhaul the tax code and increase in infrastructure spending that was part of his 2016 presidential campaign promises. These measures will eventually help companies create jobs. He also touched on his plans of deporting illegal immigrants to Mexico, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is already in Mexico on what Trump described as a "tough trip".

U.S. has lost more than five million manufacturing jobs since 2000, mostly due to lower wages, automation and foreign competition. Many companies look at trimming their employment costs by moving jobs to places were workers are paid a lot less than that in the U.S. Trump added that a lot of manufacturing jobs were lost since the U.S. joined the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, while around 70,000 factories were shut down since China joined the World Trade Organization almost 16 years ago.

Stocks That Made Headlines

Gap's Q4 Earnings Meet, Currency Leads to Soft View

The Gap Inc. ( GPS ) came out with fourth-quarter fiscal 2016 results, wherein the company continued with its usual trend of posting in-line earnings, alongside delivering its third consecutive sales beat. ( Read More )

IMAX Corp. Beats Q4 Earnings and Revenue Estimates

IMAX Corp. ( IMAX ) reported impressive financial results in the fourth quarter of 2016 wherein both the top and the bottom line outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate. ( Read More )

Hewlett Packard Q1 Earnings Top; Down on Weak Guidance

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company ( HPE ) reported better-than-expected bottom-line results for the first quarter of fiscal 2017, which also improved year over year. ( Read More )

Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2017

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Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report

Chevron Corporation (CVX): Free Stock Analysis Report

Gap, Inc. (The) (GPS): Free Stock Analysis Report

Imax Corporation (IMAX): Free Stock Analysis Report

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (HPE): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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