Stocks Broke 5-day Slump to End Higher

U.S. stocks closed modestly higher on Thursday, notching the first advance in six sessions, lifted by gains in the telecommunications and utilities sector. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 92.93 points, or 0.53%, to 17,733.10. The S&P 500 gained 6.49 points, or 0.31%, to 2,077.99. The Nasdaq Composite was up 9.98 points, or 0.21%, to 4,844.92.

Oil futures settled lower for a sixth straight session Thursday—their longest losing streak since February—and marked their lowest settlement in about five weeks. July West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.80, or 3.8%, to finish at $46.21 a barrel. August Brent crude fell $1.78, or 3.6%, to settle at $47.19 a barrel.

Oracle Corp. (ORCL) reported higher revenue from its cloud platform, although its earnings missed Wall Street’s estimate. Oracle reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose to $2.81 billion, or 66 cents a share, from $2.76 billion, or 62 cents a share, a year ago.

Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), the world’s biggest retailer, expects to add $45 billion to $60 billion of new sales over the next three years, the chief executive said on Thursday.

Microsoft’s next bet is on the weed business. The company announced today that it will partner with LA-based marijuana startup Kind on a system for tracking the legal growing and sale of weed.

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