U.S. indices were showing positive results midday Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq rising 0.7%, 0.6% and 0.1%, respectively.
Rising crude prices are helping prop up the market, with the commodity continuing its rally following a two-day dip at the start of the week. Brent crude prices were up $0.84 to $41.17 per barrel while West Texas crude contracts were climbing $1.25 to $39.71.
A weakening dollar is helping keep the oil rally going. Crude reached a low of $26 in February and has advanced steadily since.
Energy stocks were benefitting from the momentum in oil prices, with Whiting Petroleum (WLL) rising 5%, Chesapeake Energy (CHK) climbing 9% and Petrobras (PBR) gaining 10%.
In U.S. stocks news, FedEx (FDX) was up more than 10% after the company upped its full-year earnings guidance, alleviating fears about a weak global economy. The company forecast EPS between $10.70 and $10.90 for the year. Previous guidance was $10.40.
Williams-Sonoma (WSM) shares were dropping 6% after the company missed analysts' top- and bottom-line expectations. It did announce that it was raising its quarterly dividend 6% to $0.37 per share while also authorizing a $50 million share buyback program.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) ws down 10.5% on more than double its normal volume as the stock continues to suffer after missing analyst earnings estimates and slashing its full-year guidance. The stock has fallen more than 50% this week. It is estimated that activist investor and Valeant stake holder Bill Ackman has lost about $1 billion on his position this week alone.
Finally, Office Depot (ODP) was climbing over 7% on reports that it could get a bid from Amazon (AMZN) for its corporate business operations as its anti-trust trial with the FTC gets under way, according to the New York Post. Office Depot and Staples (SPLS) are going to trial to prove that their $6.3 billion merger does not violate U.S. antitrust laws.