Banks and Energy Companies Lead US Stocks Higher; Oil Rising

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U.S. stocks moved higher in afternoon trading Thursday, on course to erase modest losses from the day before. Banks and energy companies accounted for most of the gains. Retailers also rose. Utilities lagged the most.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,689 as of 2:17 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 92 points, or 0.4 percent, to 24,819. The Nasdaq composite added 18 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,979. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 9 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,549.

U.S. market indexes have risen over the past few weeks as Washington moved closer to passing its tax overhaul, but they haven’t done much over the last several days as Congress voted on the bill.

FANCYING FINANCIALS: Banks and other financial companies were among the big gainers. Wells Fargo rose $1.56, or 2.6 percent, to $61.70.

RETAIL RALLY: Several big retailers headed higher. Mattel added 71 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $15.83.

ON THE MEND: Finish Line jumped 10.9 percent after the athletic shoe and apparel retailer reported a quarterly loss that was more modest than analysts were expecting, and its revenue came in ahead of forecasts. The stock gained $1.28 to $12.95.

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