The price of oil topped $50 a barrel this week for the first time since July, delivering a cash infusion to oil producers and a lift to beaten-down energy stocks.
The arrival of higher energy prices isn’t necessarily bad news for consumers – at least not yet. Analysts expect gasoline and airline fares to stay relatively low at least through the summer travel season.
Analysts say oil prices could rise further, but most have a cap around $60 to $65 a barrel. While global production has slowed, supplies are still more than ample enough to meet demand.
U.S. stocks barely budged on Thursday as investors moved cautiously after two days of large gains. Utilities and phone companies rose the most as bond yields slipped, while chemicals companies and banks returned some of their recent gains.
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The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 23.22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,828.29. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gave up 0.44 points to 2,090.10. The Nasdaq composite index rose 6.88 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,901.77.