US stocks close higher in light trading; new high for the Dow |
U.S. stock indexes wrung out a modest gain during another quiet session on Wall Street Thursday, nudging the Dow Jones industrial average to a new high ahead of the final trading day of 2017.
Financial stocks accounted for much of the market’s gains. The sector benefited from rising bond yields, which help banks because it enables them to charge higher interest rates on loans.
Some energy stocks got a boost from natural gas prices, which jumped nearly 7 percent as temperatures dropped across much of the U.S. Crude oil prices also closed higher.
Consumer-goods makers lagged the broad rally, which gave the market its second higher finish in a row. The stock market seldom declines this time of year, noted John Serrapere, director of research at Arrow Funds.
“It’s a light, light, light calendar,” Serrapere said. “Normally between Christmas and New Year’s you get a positive, muted upslope in the markets.”
The S&P 500 index rose 4.92 to close at 2,687.54. The Dow gained 63.21 to 24,837.51, notching its 71st record high this year.
The Nasdaq added 10.82 to 6,950.16. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 4.99 to 1,548.93, matching its most recent all-time high set early last week.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq, meanwhile, are hovering just below their all-time highs. All the indexes are on track to end the 2017 with double-digit gains.
Bond prices fell as yields recovered partially from a big drop a day earlier. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.43 percent from 2.41 percent late Wednesday. That helped lift shares in banks and other financial companies.
The price of natural gas rose sharply as an arctic blast gripped a large swath from the Midwest to the Northeast, sending temperatures plummeting. It climbed almost 7 percent, to $2.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.
The increase gave some energy companies a boost, including Chesapeake Energy, which was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500.
Traders sold off shares in companies that delivered unimpressive results or outlooks. Calumet Specialty Products Partners tumbled 9 percent after the oil and solvents processor reported disappointing third-quarter results.