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  • Wall Street’s main indexes are posting small gains on Tuesday.
  • Energy stocks are rising sharply on the back of surging crude oil prices.
  • Defensive sectors remain on the back foot after the opening bell.

Major equity indexes in the US started the second day of the week modestly higher amid varying performances of major sectors. As of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was virtually unchanged on the day at 30,984, the S&P 500 Index was up 0.1% at 3,802 and the Nasdaq Composite was gaining 0.25% at 12,935.

The sharp upsurge witnessed in crude oil prices seems to be helping energy stocks gain traction. At the moment, the Energy Index is up 1.1% as the best performing major S&P 500 sector. On the other hand, defensive sectors, Real Estate, Utilities and Healthcare, are down between 0.3% and 0.7%.

Earlier in the day, the NFIB reported that the Small Business Optimism Index in December worsened to 95.9 from 101.4 in November but this report was largely ignored by market participants.

S&P 500 chart (daily)