The stock market climbed for the third day in a row, this time giving credit to Hurricane Dennis, which swerved around the petroleum-producing region of the Gulf of Mexico without doing much damage.
Crude oil prices fell 71 cents to $58.92 a barrel as the nation's biggest oil importing facility reopened off the Louisiana coast and crews returned to the gulf drilling rigs from which they were evacuated last week.
While stock traders said the retreat in oil prices helped the market today, both the energy and equities markets remain highly volatile. The next hurricane or terrorist attack that threatens to disrupt oil supplies could send prices back above $60 a barrel and send stocks skidding.
Today, however, the oil tide was running in the right direction for stocks and so too was the flow of corporate earnings reports. So far, second quarter profits seem to be coming in a little better than expected. The rise of stocks during the past three trading days -- in advance of a deluge of earnings reports later in the week -- is seen as a sign that investors are counting on corporations to deliver more good news.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 71 points to 10,519.72. The Nasdaq Stock Market composite index gained 23 points to 2,135.43. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index advanced almost eight points to 1,219.44.