Energy Stocks Lead Market Higher

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks around the world continued to push higher Wednesday, led by companies that extract oil and other commodities from the ground. The price of crude touched its highest level since the start of the year, part of a rally for raw materials overall.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose nearly 12 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,587, as of 10 a.m. Eastern time.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 133 points, or 0.6 percent, to 23,509, and the Nasdaq composite rose 20 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,748.

ENERGIZED: Oil producers led the market higher, and energy stocks in the S&P 500 jumped 1.4 percent for the biggest gain among the 11 sectors that make up the index.

They rose with the price of oil. Benchmark U.S. crude gained 57 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $54.95 and earlier touched its highest level above $55 for the first time since Jan. 3. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 54 cents to $61.48 per barrel.

Stocks of raw-material producers were also strong, and those in the S&P 500 climbed 0.8 percent. They benefited from a rise in the price of copper, which rose 4 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $3.14 per pound, and other metals.

BEAUTIFUL: Estee Lauder jumped to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after reporting stronger revenue and earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected. It rose $11.27, or 10.1 percent, to $123.08 and was on pace for its best day in nearly six years.

EARNINGS SURPRISE: Estee Lauder joined the growing list of companies that have beat analysts' expectations for the most recent quarter. Nearly two thirds of companies in the S&P 500 have said how much profit they earned from July through September, and the majority have topped Wall Street's forecasts.

Technology stocks have been particularly strong, with 68 percent reporting both earnings and revenue above analysts' estimates.

ENCOURAGING ECONOMIC DATA: Private employers added more jobs than economists expected last month, according to a survey by ADP. That raises optimism that Friday's more comprehensive jobs report from the government will also be strong.

Reports keep piling up that paint an encouraging picture of the economy. Earlier this week, reports showed that consumer confidence and spending are both on the rise.

CENTRAL BANKS: Several of the world's largest central banks are meeting this week, and the Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day meeting today. Most economists expect it to hold interest rates steady and wait until its December gathering to raise rates for the third time this year.

Earlier in the week, the Bank of Japan decided to keep its interest rates at ultra-low levels. On Thursday, the Bank of England is expected to raise interest rates, which would be the first increase in a decade.

Also on Thursday, investors expect President Donald Trump to name his choice to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve.

MARKETS ABROAD: The French CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent, the FTSE 100 in London added 0.2 percent and Germany's DAX rose 1.2 percent. The Japanese Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.9 percent, South Korea's Kospi gained 1.3 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 1.2 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 113.97 Japanese yen from 113.71 yen late Tuesday. The euro dipped to $1.1632 from $1.1651, and the British pound ticked up to $1.3296 from $1.3282.

YIELDS: The 10-year Treasury yield dipped to 2.37 percent from 2.38 percent late Tuesday. The two-year yield ticked up to 1.61 percent from 1.60 percent, and the 30-year yield dipped to 2.86 percent from 2.88 percent.