NEW YORK – U.S. stocks rose slightly Wednesday as Urban Outfitters and Target helped retailers rally. That was enough to cancel out more losses for energy companies.
Urban Outfitters and Target did better in the second quarter than analysts expected, and Target raised its forecasts for the year. That helped companies that sell clothing and other retailers. Technology companies and firms that make and sell household goods also traded higher.
A wide variety of retailers saw their shares sink the day before based on weak earnings reports. With Wal-Mart and Ross Stores in line to report their own results Thursday, investors could change their minds again.
“This sector is not for the faint of heart,” said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist for TD Ameritrade. “The market is trying to figure out who the winners and losers are going to be.”
He said turbulence for retailers will be a constant as online competition keeps growing and customers want more features such as same-day delivery.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 3.50 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,468.11. The Dow Jones industrial average added 25.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to 22,024.87. The Nasdaq composite gained 12.10 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,345.11. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies inched up 0.30 points to 1,383.53.
Target gained $1.96, or 3.6 percent, to $56.31. The company raised its annual estimates after it did better than analysts expected in the second quarter.
Gap climbed 50 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $22.57. Express added 27 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $5.84. Retailers had struggled a day earlier after poor results and lower forecasts from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Advance Auto Parts. The S&P 500 index of retailers climbed 1.7 percent Wednesday after a 2.3 percent plunge the day before.
Benchmark U.S. crude lost 77 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $46.78 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 53 cents, or 1 percent, to $50.27 a barrel in London. That pulled energy companies down further. EOG Resources fell $2.04, or 2.3 percent, to $84.98 and Marathon Oil fell 34 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $11.19.
After an early gain, the dollar dipped to 110.16 yen from 110.58 yen. The euro rebounded to $1.1769 from $1.1734.
Lincoln National fell $1.03, or 1.4 percent, to $71.14 and Bank of America gave up 28 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $24.19. Regions Financial sank 14 cents, or 1 percent, to $14.34.
Gold rose $3.20 to $1,282.90 an ounce. Silver climbed 23 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $16.94. Copper jumped 6 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $2.95 a pound.
In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline lost 2 cents to $1.56 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3 cents to $1.57 a gallon. Natural gas shed 5 cents to $2.89 per 1,000 cubic feet.