Stocks Home In On Records As Energy Companies Rise

By MARLEY JAY

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are rising, putting major indexes on track to close at record highs, as energy companies climb with the price of oil. Investors are hoping that OPEC countries will soon finalize a deal that would cut oil production and help support prices. The start of the week once again brought several corporate deals, with companies in the energy and technology industry making moves.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 69 points, or 0.4 percent, to 18,936 as of 3:05 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 14 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,195. The Nasdaq composite gained 41 points, or 0.8 percent, to 5,362. The Dow has been setting records since the presidential election earlier this month, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq reached all-time highs this summer. Small-company stocks, which are at record highs already, also continued to climb.

If stocks close around their current levels, it will be the first time all of those indexes set records on the same day since December 31, 1999, according to Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist for LPL Financial.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose to its highest price this month. It gained $1.80, or 3.9 percent, to $47.49 a barrel while Brent crude, the international standard, rose $2.04, or 4.4 percent, to $48.90 a barrel in London. That led to gains for energy companies. Marathon Oil added 80 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $16.42 and Exxon Mobil added $1.12, or 1.3 percent, to $86.40.

OPEC nations will meet in Vienna on Nov. 30. They have agreed to preliminary terms of a deal that will reduce the production of oil slightly, but the details remain to be determined.

THE QUOTE: Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, said investors are encouraged that OPEC is trying to limit production. But she doesn't think a deal, if one happens, will have much effect on oil prices.

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