The stock market held big gains at midday Wednesday after the price of crude oil backed off from nearly 14-year highs.

The S&P 500 jumped 2.5% while the Nasdaq composite vaulted 3% as a pattern of big price moves continued to characterize stock trading.

The Nasdaq’s decline from its November peak had exceeded 20%, what Wall Street considers a bear market. Right now, the index is 19% below its prior high.

The Nasdaq and S&P 500 came close to undercutting their Feb. 24 lows, but are making a stand around that level. A drop below it would effectively kill a rally attempt, although the stock market volatility makes market signals difficult to read. On Tuesday, for example, the Nasdaq climbed as much as 2.6% before reversing lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.1% Wednesday as Salesforce.com (CRM), Nike (NKE) and financials American Express (AXP), JPMorgan (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) rose more than 4% each. The small-cap Russell 2000 rose 2.8%. Volume fell on the NYSE and Nasdaq compared with the same time on Tuesday.

Oil Prices Fall, Stock Market Climbs

U.S. Stock Market Today Overview

Index Symbol Price Gain/Loss % Change
Dow Jones (0DJIA) 33317.86 +685.22 +2.10
S&P 500 (0S&P5) 4274.04 +103.34 +2.48
Nasdaq (0NDQC ) 13179.41 +383.86 +3.00
Russell 2000 (IWM) 200.33 +5.54 +2.84
IBD 50 (FFTY) 37.01 +0.87 +2.41
Last Update: 11:48 AM ET 3/9/2022

U.S. crude slid 4% to $118.58 a barrel midday Wednesday. It’s down 9% from the week’s peak above $130 a barrel after the U.S. moved to ban Russian imports of crude oil. It is one of the heaviest sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

Airline stocks, one of the most affected by higher fuel prices, rebounded. IBD’s airlines industry group rose more than 5%. The travel booking group jumped 6.7%. The lodging industry group rose 4%, while other leisure groups climbed more than 4%.

Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE), which had rallied nearly 10% this month alone, fell 1.2%, and is set to end an eight-day win streak. Oil drilling, exploration & production, pipeline and other energy industry groups fell more than 1%.

Other commodity stocks affected by anti-Russia sanctions also eased. Teucrium Corn ETF (CORN) fell 1.8%. Teucrium Wheat Fund (WEAT) dropped 5.5%.

In the Ukraine war, Russian forces continued to push toward Kyiv and other major cities, while Ukrainians fought off attacks and tried to evacuate civilians.

Cryptocurrency Stocks Climb

Cryptocurrency stocks rallied after President Joe Biden ordered federal regulators to review the risks of the crypto market to consumers, investors and the economy. The review also will examine the creation of a U.S. digital currency.

Investors saw positives in Biden’s executive order, despite the threat of regulation.

ProShares Bitcoin Strategy (BITO), an ETF that tracks Bitcoin futures, jumped 10.5%, it’s best gain since Feb. 4. Coinbase Global (COIN), the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange, rose 10%. Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) was up 7.6%. Riot Blockchain (RIOT) jumped more than 11%.

Bitcoin climbed above $42,400, according to Coindesk quotes. Cryptocurrency shares have been slumping since December.

IBD 50 Keeps Up With Stock Market

The Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) jumped 2.6%.

Zim Integrated Shipping (ZIM) pared its gain to 4.7% after the company reported a 366% surge in earnings for the fourth quarter. Sales rose 155% to $3.47 billion. Other shippers such as Matson (MATX) and Global Ship Lease (GSL) rose more than 2%.

Boston Properties (BXP), the largest publicly traded office building real estate investment trust, rose above the 123.77 buy point of a cup-with-handle base. But volume was below average.

CF Industries (CF) was down 4% in heavy trading. The fertilizer stock is cooling off after rising more than 30% in two weeks.

Among major stocks, Netflix (NFLX) climbed 3% in heavy trading after Wedbush upgraded the video streaming stock to neutral from underperform. Netflix shares remain deep in a correction.

Analyst Michael Pachter had kept a bearish rating on the stock for years, but today struck a bullish tone. “Netflix’s first-mover advantage and large subscriber base provides the company with a nearly insurmountable competitive advantage over its streaming peers,” he noted.

Alphabet (GOOGL) rose 3.5% in midday stock market trading, and has now defended the 2,500 price level three times since January. The company’s Google division agreed to acquire Mandiant, a cybersecurity software and services company, in a deal valued at $5.4 billion.

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