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Oil and banks take Dow to new highs, but tech companies dive

🕐 4 min read

NEW YORK (AP) — More big gains for blue-chip banking and oil stocks pulled the Dow Jones industrial average to another record high Thursday, but most other U.S. stocks headed in the opposite direction. Technology companies are plunging and on are track for their biggest loss in two months. High-dividend stocks are also trading lower as bond yields rise.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow gained 60 points, or 0.3 percent, to 19,183 as of 2:55 p.m. Eastern time, above the record it set last week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,191. The Nasdaq composite fell 69 points, or 1.3 percent, to 5,255.

BANKS: Bond prices continued to tumble, sending benchmark yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.44 percent from 2.38 percent, its highest since July 2015. That sent bank stocks higher because higher bond yields are linked to higher interest rates, which allow banks to make more money from lending. Goldman Sachs became the biggest gainer on the Dow this year as it rose $5.79, or 2.6 percent, to $225.08 and JPMorgan Chase picked up $1.47, or 1.8 percent, to $81.64. Goldman is trading at its highest price since 2007.

CURRENCIES: After a big gain Wednesday, the dollar slipped to 114.03 yen from 114.22 yen. The euro rose to $1.0649 from $1.0599. In the last few weeks the dollar has reached a 13-year high compared to other currencies. A strong dollar hurts profits and sales for companies that do a lot of business overseas, and the technology companies on the S&P 500 get almost 60 percent of their revenue outside the U.S.

Facebook skidded $2.74, or 2.3 percent, to $115.68 and chipmaker Analog Devices dropped $4.53, or 6.1 percent, to $69.71. Microsoft lost 95 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $59.31.

ENERGY: Oil prices rallied again and reached their highest level since mid-October. Benchmark U.S. crude picked up $1.62, or 3.3 percent, to close at $51.06 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, added $2.10, or 4.1 percent, to $53.94 a barrel in London. Chevron gained $2.12, or 1.9 percent, to $113.68 and Phillips 66 rose $1.81, or 2.2 percent, to $84.89.

The price of oil soared 9 percent Wednesday after the members of OPEC, which collectively produce more than one-third of the world’s oil, agreed to a small cut in production starting in January. The price of oil has mostly traded between $40 and $50 a barrel since early April. It dipped as low as $26 a barrel in February.

THE QUOTE: A big post-election rally has faded in the last few days, but Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist for Voya Investment Strategies, thinks major indexes will move higher. She noted that corporate earnings grew in the third quarter for the first time in more than a year, and U.S. manufacturing has been recovering.

“We’ve been so starved for anything that could even resemble growth,” she said. “If the U.S. is doing better, then that’s going to help the whole entire global economy do better.”

LOOKS FAMILIAR: Stocks are largely following the pattern that has held since the presidential election, with banks and industrial companies gaining ground. Technology companies are falling. So are stocks that pay large dividends, like utilities and real estate companies, as rising bond yields make those stocks less attractive to investors who are seeking income.

DOLLAR DOWN: Discount store chain Dollar General said its business was hurting by falling prices for some goods as well as cuts in government benefits that help people with low incomes buy food. The company’s results fell short of analyst estimates and its shares lost $4.60, or 5.9 percent, to $72.72. Dollar General hit an all-time high of almost $97 a share this summer but has fallen after two weak quarterly reports.

FILTER DEAL: Parker-Hannifin, which makes motion and control products, said it will pay about $4 billion for Clarcor, a company that makes mobile, industrial and environmental filtration products. Clarcor stock jumped $11.89, or 16.9 percent, to $82.34 while Parker-Hannifin rose $4.33, or 3.1 percent, to $143.26.

IN THE FAST LANE: Auto sales climbed in November and broke out of a recent slump. U.S. auto sales broke records last year and there have been some signs recently that demand is waning, but on Thursday, a Toyota executive said he thought sales could set a new record in 2016.

GM and Ford climbed after they reported stronger sales growth than analysts expected. Ford gained 49 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $12.46 and General Motors rose $1.79, or 5.2 percent, to $36.32.

OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline rose 6 cent to $1.55 a gallon. Heating oil added 7 cents to $1.65. Natural gas gained 15 cents to $3.51 per 1,000 cubic feet.

METALS: Gold fell $4.50 to $1,169.30 an ounce. Silver rose 2 cents to $16.51 an ounce. Copper picked up 1 cent to $2.64 a pound.

OVERSEAS: European stock indexes fell. Germany’s DAX lost 1 percent and in Britain, the FTSE 100 fell 0.5 percent. The CAC 40 in France shed 0.4 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 1.1 percent and the Kospi of South Korea was little changed. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 0.4 percent.

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