Markets continue to move higher thanks in part to a rebound in oil prices which pushed big energy stocks up. At the close the Dow was up 89 points to 17,918 on heavier trading volume.
US car and truck sales continue to boom. GM reported October sales up 16% while Ford and Toyota sales were up 13%. Fiat Chrysler sales were higher by a tidy 15% and even beleaguered Volkswagen posted a small gain in sales. Car sales in the US are on pace to break the record set in 2001 at 17.35 million vehicles. During the 08 crisis car sales fell below the 10 million mark and some gurus predicted they would never get above 13 million again but millennials are proving them wrong. Sales of late have been greased by cheap gas, low interest rates, rebates offered by car makers and an improving economy.
While the longer term outlook for oil prices is not conducive to higher prices, the near term supply demand picture is supportive of an uptick off recent lows. WTI crude today gained about 4% to close near $48 per barrel. An oil worker strike in Brazil cut export production by 500k barrels per day and helped push global crude higher. Libya is also curtailing exports at one facility due to a “force majeure” or unavoidable unfavorable incident. While I have no idea what they are talking about these global issues plus recent drawdowns in gas and diesel stocks are lending upside support to near term oil prices.