U.S. stocks climbed again Wednesday as quarterly results from JPMorgan Chase gave banks a big lift. Economic news from China powered industrial and technology companies in the U.S. and stock exchanges overseas.
JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., led a rally in financial stocks after its first-quarter results came in better than analysts expected. Railroad operators and auto parts suppliers also gained ground, while consumer goods makers struggled. Gains over the past two days have brought stocks to their highest levels of 2016.
Julian Emanuel, U.S. equities and derivatives strategist for UBS, said it didn’t take much to send banks, the worst-performing sector in the market this year, higher.
“Bank stocks have been so beaten up that any good news, either on better credit conditions driven by higher energy prices or news on cost-cutting, is likely to underpin those stocks,” he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 187.03 points, or 1.1%, to 17,908.28. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 20.70 points, or 1%, to 2,082.42. The Nasdaq composite index advanced 75.33 points, or 1.6%, to 4,947.42.
JPMorgan, the largest bank in the U.S. and the first to report its earnings, said its first-quarter profit fell because of weak results in its investment banking business. Its profit and revenue were bigger than analysts expected, however, and the stock rose $2.51, or 4.2%, to $61.79. Bank of America picked up 52 cents, or 3.9%, to $13.79, and Wells Fargo rose $1.26, or 2.6%, to $49.03. Citigroup jumped $2.35, or 5.6%, to $44.25.
Banks have slumped this year because investors are worried they will take big losses on loans to energy companies, which did hurt JPMorgan’s results. Low interest rates also are affecting bank stocks because they reduce the profits banks can make on loans.
Railroad operator CSX gained $1.04, or 4.2%, to $26.03. The company’s profit fell as demand for coal got weaker and CSX hauled less freight, but expenses fell, partly because fuel costs dropped. CSX said it plans to cut more spending.
Other railroad stocks surged. Union Pacific added $2.08, or 2.6%, to $81.72, and Norfolk Southern rose $2.42, or 3.1%, to $81.14.
Industrial stocks and tech stocks rose on reports that exports from China grew 11.5% in March compared with a year earlier. That was the first annual gain since June, and it’s a sign of life from China’s slowing economy. Heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar rose $3.03, or 4%, to $79.13, and engine maker Cummins climbed $5.90, or 5.5%, to $113.70.
While the long-beleaguered banking sector traded higher on Wednesday, the best-performing parts of the market so far this year, utilities and telecommunications companies, traded lower. Emanuel said that’s a sign the recent rally is running out of steam.
“The market’s run, in our view, too far, too fast,” he said.
Consumer goods makers also fell. The Commerce Department said retail sales fell a little in March, although the Federal Reserve said overall consumer spending grew a bit in February and March. Americans have been cautious about their spending this year even though gas prices are low and jobs are growing. Tobacco company Reynolds American lost $2.11, or 4.1%, to $49.15, and Altria fell $1.75, or 2.7%, to $62.07.
Tyson Foods gave up $2.74, or 4%, to $65.63, and Clorox declined $2.03, or 1.6%, to $126.14. Campbell Soup shed $1.17, or 1.8%, to $62.81.
Delphi Automotive rose $4.07, or 5.6%, to $76.42. Two years ago, the IRS argued that some of Delphi’s businesses were based in the U.S. and should be taxed accordingly. Delphi said Wednesday that the agency agrees that’s not the case.
Verizon Communications slipped after around 39,000 landline and cable workers walked off the job Wednesday morning. Verizon’s contracts with its unions expired about eight months ago, and little progress has been made in negotiations. The stock declined 65 cents, or 1.3%, to $51.29.
France’s CAC 40 rose 3.3%, and Germany’s DAX added 2.7%. The FTSE 100 in Britain rose 1.9%. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 2.8%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 3.2%.
U.S. crude slipped 41 cents, or 1%, to $41.76 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil pricing, fell 51 cents, or 1.1%, to $44.18 a barrel in London.
In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.53 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.27 a gallon. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.04 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note slipped to 1.76% from 1.78%. The dollar rose to 109.25 yen from 108.53 yen and the euro fell to $1.1285 from $1.1397.
Precious and industrial metals futures ended mixed. Gold lost $12.60 to $1,248.30 an ounce, silver edged up 10 cents to $16.33 an ounce and copper rose two cents to $2.17 a pound.