U.S. stocks were moving mostly higher Thursday after a two-day losing streak. Industrials stocks accounted for a big slice of the rally. Energy companies also notched solid gains as crude oil prices recovered from an early slide. Banks and health care stocks lagged. Bond yields declined after spiking to four-year highs a day earlier amid rekindled fears of higher inflation and interest rates.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,705 as of 3:39 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 166 points, or 0.7 percent, to 24,964. The Nasdaq fell 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,214. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,533.
THE QUOTE: “The yields easing back a little bit is probably reassuring people on a very short-term kind of basis,” said Erik Wytenus, global investment specialist, J.P. Morgan Private Bank. “That big, nasty intraday reversal yesterday was probably a little bit excessive.”
BONDS WATCH: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.92 percent from a day earlier, when it climbed to 2.95 percent, the highest level since January 2014. The spike in bond yields came after the Federal Reserve’s minutes from its January policy meeting showed bullish sentiment among policymakers, confirming their intention to raise interest rates this year.
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Higher yields generally hurt stock prices by making bonds more appealing to investors. They also make it more expensive for people and companies to borrow money. Earlier this month, global stock markets, particularly those in the U.S., suffered big losses amid mounting concerns over the pace of inflation and Fed policy tightening.
INDUSTRIALS FAVORED: Shares in industrials companies posted solid gains. Caterpillar added $3.65, or 2.4 percent, to $158.88. United Technologies was another big gainer a day after the CEO said the company is looking into the possibility of splitting up the industrial conglomerate into three separate businesses. The stock picked up $4.24, or 3.3 percent, to $133.50.
INTO TECH: Technology companies made up a big slice of the market’s gains. PayPal rose $1.18, or 1.5 percent, to $77.69.
ENERGIZED: Investors bid up shares in Chesapeake Energy after the company’s latest quarterly results exceeded analysts’ estimates. The stock climbed 53 cents, or 20.1 percent, to $3.16.
RENT THIS: Strong earnings also gave Avis Budget Group shares a boost. The car rental company added $5.98, or 15.3 percent, to $44.94.
TUNING OUT: Roku slumped 17.2 percent after the video streaming device company’s latest guidance disappointed analysts. The stock lost $8.79 to $42.31.
SAD, SAD SONG: Pandora Media slid 7.8 percent after the music streaming company’s first-quarter revenue guidance fell short of Wall Street’s estimates. The stock gave up 38 cents to $4.49.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude recovered from an early slide, adding $1.09, or 1.8 percent, to settle at $62.77 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 97 cents, or 1.5 percent, to close at $66.39 per barrel in London. In other energy futures trading, heating oil gained 2 cents to $1.95 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline added a penny to $1.77 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3 cents to $2.63 per 1,000 cubic feet.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slid to 106.64 yen from 107.78 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.2329 from $1.2300.
METALS: Gold rose $60 cents to $1,332.70 an ounce. Silver dropped 3 cents to $16.59 an ounce. Copper added 3 cents to $3.24 a pound.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly lower. Germany’s DAX fell 0.1 percent, while the CAC 40 in France gained 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares declined 0.4 percent after figures showed the British economy did not grow as strongly as initially thought during 2017. In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slumped 1.1 percent and South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.6 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.5 percent.
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