Stocks hover near record highs on energy prices, vaccine optimism

Stocks were rising slightly in early trading Tuesday, continuing to hover near record levels, as energy prices helped push oil and gas companies higher. The full approval a day earlier of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was continuing to provide support for the market.

The S&P 500 index was up 0.1% as of 12:30 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1% and the Nasdaq composite climbed 0.3%. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks was up 0.5%.

Oil prices were up 2% in early trading, continuing to recover from a decline earlier in the month. Halliburton, Occidental Petroleum and Valero Energy rose 3% or more.

Travel companies were also broadly higher. Las Vegas Sands was the second-best performing stock in the S&P 500, up 5%, followed by Wynn Resorts, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Best Buy jumped 6.6% after reporting results that were better than analysts were expecting.

Best shot against pandemic

While Pfizer fell 3% after rising sharply the day before, many investors were encouraged by the Food & Drug Administration’s full approval of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The approval has given cities and companies the legal backing to start mandating the vaccine. On Monday, New York City and the Department of Defense announced vaccine requirements.

Investors will be looking to the Federal Reserve as the Kansas City Fed’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming starts later this week. It will likely provide Wall Street with more insight into what the Fed may do about inflation.