U.S. stocks closed higher Thursday, ending a five-day losing streak with telecoms leading sector advancers.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed about 93 points higher with3M contributing the most to gains. Earlier, the Dow fell nearly 169 points.
The S&P 500 closed about a third of a percent higher after earlier falling 1 percent. Energy was the only declining sector as U.S. crude oil futures settled down $1.80, or 3.75 percent, at $46.21 a barrel.
The major indexes came off session lows as selling in the British pound eased against the U.S. dollar. to trade higher around $1.422 as of the U.S. stock market close.
The move in sterling coincided with a tweet from U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron stating that all campaigning around the E.U. referendum has been suspended, following news that Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox died from a shooting earlier in the day. The cause of the shooting was unclear, but there was speculation the act could encourage more voters to choose to remain in the EU.
“Civility took over and the debate over Brexit stopped for a period of time,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
Gold also came well off session highs, after earlier extending its rise above $1,300 an ounce to hit its highest since August 2014.
Traders cited some technical support around 2,050 on the S&P as helping the intraday turnaround. The Dow and S&P posted their first five-day losing streak since February on Wednesday.
“The turn (in stocks) started when Europe started to close,” said Peter Coleman, head trader at Convergex. He noted stocks were somewhat oversold and attributed much of the midday recovery to the close in European stocks and some short-covering.
European stocks ended well off their lows, with the STOXX Europe 600 about 0.72 lower.
Treasury yields were mostly higher in late afternoon trade, with the 10-year yield near 1.57 percent and the 2-year yield near 0.68 percent. Earlier, the 10-year fell to 1.518 percent, its lowest since August 2012, while the 2-year touched its lowest since mid-February.
The Dow utilities and S&P 500 utilities sector rose more than half a percent to hit a fresh 52-week intraday high.
Overnight, the Bank of Japan did not offer additional monetary stimulus. BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the strength in the yen “could have undesirable effects on Japan’s economy and future inflation,” according to a Reuters report.
“It really calls into question whether the Bank of Japan has run out of bullets and trigger the yen to go higher (against the dollar),” said Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout.
The yen hit 103.58, its strongest level against the U.S. dollar since August 2014. The yen was last near 104.3 yen versus the greenback.
The U.S. dollar index was little changed in afternoon trade, with the euro around $1.123.
As stocks sold off into the close Wednesday after Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s press conference, traders cited concerns about Fed credibility.
The latest Brexit poll showed that among those likely to vote, British support for leaving the European Union in a June 23 referendum has risen to 53 percent, according to a survey by Ipsos Mori reported by Reuters.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) said its survey of builder sentiment rose two points in June to 60.
The S&P 500 closed up 6.49 points, or 0.31 percent, at 2,077.99, with telecommunications leading nine sectors higher and energy the only decliner.
The Nasdaq composite closed up 9.98 points, or 0.21 percent, at 4,844.91.
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, traded lower around 19.4 after earlier topping 22.5 to hit its highest since February.
Decliners were a touch ahead of advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 876 million and a composite volume of 3.5 billion in the close.
Gold futures for August delivery settled up $10.10 at $1,298.40 an ounce.
On tap this week:
8:30 a.m. Housing starts
8:30 a.m. Building permits
*Planner subject to change.