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U.S. stock indexes set record highs again despite slow, pre-holiday trading

NYSE
The American flag flies above the Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange.
(Associated Press)

The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes again set records Wednesday in a quiet day of pre-holiday trading. 

Industrial companies like Caterpillar and United Technologies did well. Banks also rose as bond yields climbed. Companies that make hardware and network devices skidded after printer and PC maker HP gave a weak profit forecast. 

“It sends kind of a chill through the sector,” said Sameer Samana, a strategist for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. 

The Dow rose 59.31 points, or 0.3%, to 19,083.18. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged up 1.78 points, or 0.1%, to 2,204.72. The Nasdaq composite lost 5.67 points, or 0.1%, to 5,380.68.  The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks climbed for the 14th day in a row. 

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The Dow closed above 19,000 for the first time on Tuesday.

Deere, an agricultural and construction equipment maker, reported a bigger profit than analysts expected. The stock advanced $10.16, or 11%, to $102.17, its highest-ever closing price. Already trading at all-time highs, industrial companies continued to rise after Deere’s report.

Construction and mining equipment maker Caterpillar gained $2.56, or 2.7%, to $96.18. United Technologies, which makes elevators and jet engines, added $1.17, or 1.1%, to $108.11. Both companies are Dow components, which contributed to the Dow’s big gain. 

Printer and PC maker HP lost ground after it issued a profit forecast that disappointed investors. Its stock gave up $1.08, or 6.8%, to $14.87.

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Bond prices dropped, sending yields higher. The yield on the 2-year Treasury note rose to 1.13% from 1.09%. The yield on that note is at its highest in more than six years. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.36% from 2.31%, its highest in almost a year and a half. 

Higher bond yields are linked to higher interest rates, so the rising yields helped bank stocks turn higher. Capital One rose $2.03, or 2.5%, to $84.62. The S&P 500 financial index is up 12% since the election while the S&P 500 itself is up 3%. 

The price of gold reached its lowest level since February as it tumbled $21.90, or 1.8%, to $1,189.30 an ounce. Silver fell 24 cents, or 1.4%, to $16.39 an ounce. But copper, which is used in construction, picked up 6 cents, or 2.5%, to $2.61 a pound. 

The dollar rose to 112.60 yen from 111.14 yen. The euro fell to $1.0549 from $1.0624. The U.S. currency hasn’t been this strong since March 2003. That’s good news for U.S. companies that import goods, but it hurts businesses that get a lot of revenue from overseas. 

Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 7 cents to $47.96 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 17 cents to $48.95 a barrel in London. 

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday and will close early on Friday. 

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UPDATES:

2:05 p.m.: This article was updated with closing stock prices throughout.

This article was originally published at 7:10 a.m.


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