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Gains in media stocks helped benchmarks shrug off weak economic data and settle in the green. Investors ignored the biggest contraction of the U.S. economy in the first quarter since early 2009 and also overlooked an unexpected fall in durable goods order. Broadcaster stocks rose on Wednesday after Supreme Court ruled in their favor over start-up online-video service provider, Aereo Inc. However, oil refinery stocks declined after The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is about to ease the ban on crude oil exports for the first time in nearly 40 years.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article
 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.3% to close Wednesday’s trading session at 16,867.51. The Standard & Poor 500 (S&P 500) advanced 0.5% to finish at 1,959.53. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 4,379.76; gaining 0.7%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) dropped almost 4.5% to settle at 11.59. Total volume on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was 3.1 billion. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 67% stocks that advanced, 30% declined.
 
Media companies gained after the Supreme Court ruled in their favor. The Supreme Court stated that Aereo Inc., an Internet video startup had violated copyright law. The Supreme Court voted 6-3 against Aereo and ruled that the company needs to pay broadcast companies if it takes television programs from airwaves.
 
Aereo uses tiny antennas for broadcasting content to subscribers via the Internet. The online-video service provider operates in major U.S. cities, including New York, Boston and Chicago.
 
The ruling was a major win for the broadcast industry as the industry had argued that Aereo should pay for broadcast rights the same way cable and satellite providers do. Broadcast company, CBS Corporation (NYSE:CBS) was yesterday’s second-best gainer among the S&P 500 components. The stock surged 6.2% following the ruling.
 
Other media stocks such as Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) owner of NBC, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) owner of ABC and other networks and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. (NASDAQ:FOX) increased 1.1%, 1.5% and 2.2%, respectively. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) gained almost 0.9%, the second highest among the S&P 500 sectors.
 
However, oil refiners declined after the Commerce Department loosened the nearly 40 year ban on crude oil exports. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Commerce Department defied the current U.S. law and granted permission to two energy companies Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE:EPD) and Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE:PXD) to ship a type of unrefined ultralight oil known as condensate to foreign buyers. The buyers can then turn the oil into gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel. The current U.S. law states that companies can only export refined fuels such as gasoline and diesel.
 
Following the news, oil refiners, Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) and Marathon Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:MPC) declined the most among the S&P 500 components. Shares of Valero Energy and Marathon Petroleum plunged 8.3% and 6.3%, respectively. Similarly, shares of Tesoro Corporation (NYSE:TSO) and Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) dropped 4.2% each.
 
Economic data was largely discouraging. First quarter GDP growth contracted more than expected. According to the “third estimate” by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the first quarter output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States decreased at an annual rate of 2.9%, more than the consensus estimate of 1.8%.
 
First quarter GDP growth dropped the most since early 2009 when the recession was coming to an end. The previous estimate expected the U.S. economy to contract by 1.0% in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter 2013, the US economy had expanded 2.6%.
 
In addition to this, the US Census Bureau reported new orders for manufactured durable goods in May decreased 1.0%, more than the consensus estimate of a 0.2% decline. The drop in May came after a revised 0.8% gain in April. Excluding transportation, new orders for manufactured durable goods decreased 0.1% in May. However, unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in May were up 0.6%.
 
Nine out of 10 sectors of the S&P 500 ended in the green. The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) gained 1.1%, the highest among the S&P 500 sectors. Key stocks from the sector such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK), Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) and Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN) advanced 1.1%, 1.7%, 1.6%, 1.2% and 0.5%, respectively.

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