Crude oil has finally stopped crashing — and that’s excellent news for the stock market.
More talk of stimulus from central bankers also helped lift global markets overnight, with China’s stock market jumping more than 1% and Japan spiking nearly 6%.
It’s way too early to say if the worst of the market freakout of 2016 is over. But it’s clear stocks are on the upswing. The Dow has rallied more than 650 points since its worst levels on Wednesday.
“This has the feel of a bar in a college town on a Saturday night after a big win for the football team — exuberance abounding in the price action,” Bespoke Investment Group wrote in a client note.
Whether it’s the start of a lasting rebound or a “party that will yield hangovers shortly is an open question, but it’s quite the show to watch either way,” the firm wrote.
The clear catalyst for the better mood on Wall Street is oil. Crude has skyrocketed more than 20% from Wednesday’s low of $26.19, the weakest price since 2003.
That’s a big relief for the stock market, which has been freaking out over the implications of cheap oil. Yes, it’s great for consumers filling up their gas tanks. However, the oil crash is slamming energy profits, causing tens of thousands of job losses, crushing emerging markets like Mexico and Brazil and raising questions about the health of the global economy.
The SP 500 has been moving nearly in lockstep with the price of oil, underscoring the intense level of attention the commodity has received in recent weeks.
The energy group of the SP 500 soared 5% on Friday, led by an incredible 16% surge for Williams Companies ( and a 13% spike for )Kinder Morgan (. )
“These stocks are so cheap that any sign of stabilization in the price of oil will cause them to bounce back dramatically,” said Andrew Slimmon, a portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
Wall Street is also getting excited about the prospect of more help from central banks. In recent days the European Central Bank has hinted at pumping more money into the economy and reports have surfaced suggesting central bankers in China and Japan are exploring similar options.
Wall Street is also keeping a close eye on the major snowstorm threatening the U.S. East Coast. Shares of electric-generator maker Generac Holdings ( jumping another 4%, leaving it )up 11% so far this week. Home Depot ( and )Lowe’s (, big sellers of snow-removal supplies, also enjoyed a blizzard bounce. )