Bank stocks help Dow to another record; tech stocks recover

Author: Associated Press
Photo via Kevin Hutchinson / CC BY 2.0

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks resumed their climb Monday as investors bought stocks that stand to benefit from economic growth, like banks, as well as technology companies, which have been mostly left out of a post-election rally. The Dow Jones industrial set another record high.

Energy companies rose as the price of oil reached its highest level since July 2015. Small-company stocks continued to outpace the rest of the market. Technology companies have fallen since the election as big names like Facebook and Alphabet have lost ground. But that changed Monday.

Samantha Azzarello, global market strategist for JPMorgan Asset Management, said investors have been steadily moving money away from safe-play stocks over the past year and favoring companies that stand to do the best when economic growth picks up steam, as it did in the third quarter. Azzarello said investors expect that trend to continue.

“We’ve had 2 to 2.5 percent growth in the U.S. and we expect that to pop even higher if we get fiscal stimulus,” she said.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 45.82 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,216.24. Earlier it went as high as 19,274. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 12.76 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,204.71. The Nasdaq composite added 53.24 points, or 1 percent, to 5,308.89.

Stocks of small and mid-sized companies rose sharply. The Russell 2000 index jumped 23.53 points, or 1.8 percent, to 1,337.79. Thanks to a big rally in November, the Russell is up 18 percent this year, more than twice as much as the S&P 500, which tracks large U.S. companies. Smaller companies, which are more domestically focused than large multinationals, could stand to benefit more than larger ones from a pickup in U.S. growth.

Banks resumed their post-election rally and are trading at their highest levels since early 2008. Goldman Sachs gained $5.19, or 2.3 percent, to $228.55, a nine-year high. While stocks traded lower overall last week, banks are on a four-week winning streak since the election.

Microsoft added 97 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $60.22 customer-management software developer climbed $3.43, or 3.5 percent, to $70.80. Tech stocks are down about 1 percent since the election as investors have wondered about the effects of President-elect Donald Trump’s potential trade policies. The stocks had also reached all-time highs earlier this year.

Oil prices rose for the fourth day in a row. The price of oil has surged since OPEC countries finalized a deal that will trim oil production starting in January. Benchmark U.S. oil rose 11 cents to $51.79 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 48 cents to $54.94 a barrel in London.

That sent energy companies higher. Valero Energy gained $3.06, or 5 percent, to $64.52 and ConocoPhillips picked up 76 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $48.88.

Consumer-focused companies also did better than the rest of the market. Amazon jumped $19.02, or 2.6 percent, to $759.36. On Monday the online retail giant said it is testing a grocery store model that works without checkout lines.

Health care stocks took the biggest losses. Health insurer UnitedHealth, a Dow component that has soared since the election, shed $3.10, or 1.9 percent, to $157.63 and drugmaker Merck fell 88 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $60.25.

U.S. government bond prices recovered from a sharp drop earlier in the day and finished just a bit lower. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged up to 2.40 percent from 2.39 percent late Friday.

Italian voters rejected proposed changes to the nation’s constitution on Sunday, causing political and economic uncertainty for Europe’s fourth-largest economy. Premier Matteo Renzi said he would resign. UniCredit, the biggest bank in Italy, lost 3 percent in Milan. Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the country’s third-biggest lender, slumped 4 percent. The bank failed a stress test this year and has been in negotiations with investors to raise money to shore up its financial position.

Italian stocks didn’t move much overall, and the FTSE MIB index slipped 0.2 percent.

Azzarello of JPMorgan said that’s because investors are getting used to political surprises. “After Brexit and after the U.S. election, markets are now braced for expecting the most extreme outcome when it comes to politics,” she said.

Other major European indexes finished higher. Germany’s DAX added 1.6 percent and France’s CAC-40 gained 1 percent. In London the FTSE 100 advanced 0.2 percent. Asian stocks mostly fell. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 retreated 0.8 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.3 percent.

Also on Sunday, the Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters say the proposed route for the pipeline threatens the tribe’s water source and cultural sites. It’s the last major piece of construction on the $3.8 billion pipeline. The companies involved in the pipeline criticized the decision and it’s not clear if the Trump administration will try to overturn the decision after Trump takes power in January.

The companies connected to the pipeline traded lower Monday. Energy Transfer Partners lost 59 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $33.79 and Sunoco Logistics shed 43 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $22.75. Those two companies recently agreed to combine.

The dollar rose to 113.75 yen from 113.67 yen. The euro rose to $1.0770 from $1.0660.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline remained at $1.56 a gallon and heating oil was unchanged at $1.66 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 22 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $3.65 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $1.30 to $1,176.50 an ounce. Silver rose 7 cents to $16.90 an ounce. Copper jumped 7 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $2.70 a pound.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.