Energy Sector Leads Market Gains

Crude oil prices rallied as the potential for conflict in Iraq threatened to cut off exports.
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Stocks were rising but retreated from intraday records. The Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were all holding in the green.

The energy sector was the best performer on Monday. Supermajor oil companies were higher, including Chevron Corp. (CVX) - Get Report and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) - Get Report . Crude oil prices rallied this morning as the potential for conflict in Iraq threatened to cut off exports. Reports indicated Iraqi forces have descended upon Kirkuk, a major oil-producing region in Iraq.

Shares of Viacom Inc. (VIAB) - Get Report and Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) - Get Report jumped higher after the companies agreed to a short-term extension of their renewal deadline, Reuters reported citing a source familiar with the matter.

If no deal is reached, 16.6 million subscribers of Charter's Spectrum service will lose Viacom's networks, such as Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon, Reuters noted.

Viacom and Charter are working to "reach a mutually beneficial deal," the source said. An analyst at Gabelli & Company, Viacom's second-largest voting shareholder, said Viacom stands to lose $760 million, or about 16%, of its annual affiliate revenue if an agreement isn't reached.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Report added more than 1% after KeyBanc Capital upgraded its rating on the tech giant to overweight from sector weight, reversing a downgrade in June. Analyst Andy Hargreaves is optimistic over Apple's turn to "subscription-like qualities rather than a regular hardware business" including growth in its App Store.

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