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Dow closes above 23,000 as stock indexes set new highs

Peter Tuchman
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq composite also finished at record highs. Above, trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange,
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

A day of modest gains on Wall Street resulted in more milestones for U.S. stocks Wednesday as the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 23,000 points for the first time.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq composite also finished at record highs.

Technology stocks and financial companies led the gainers as investors weighed the latest batch of company earnings. Strong quarterly results drove IBM shares to their biggest one-day gain since 2009. Those gains accounted for much of the 30-company Dow’s record high.

“For us it’s just another indication that it is a strong market here, year to date,” said Paul Springmeyer, investment managing director for US Bank Private Wealth Management. “To have the Dow up over 17% is a very, very strong year.”

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All told, the Dow climbed 160.16 points to 23,157.60 on Wednesday. The S&P 500 rose 1.90 points to 2,561.26. The Nasdaq edged up 0.56 of a point to 6,624.22. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks advanced 7.65 points to 1,505.14.

The S&P 500 and Dow also set records Monday and Tuesday.

The Dow closed above 22,000 for the first time Aug. 2, and since then, the best-performing components have been Boeing, Caterpillar, Goldman Sachs, Home Depot and 3M. The Dow is up 3,395 points this year, or 17.2%.

Stocks can still grind higher as long as the economy continues to expand and companies increase revenue, said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

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“Overall, the underpinning for the market is solid,” Krosby said. “You have global growth picking up the way it has over the last quarter, it’s an indication that demand is picking up as well, and it’s why you have global markets doing well.”

Investors continued to size up the latest raft of company earnings Wednesday.

IBM jumped 8.9% to $159.53 after the technology and consulting firm delivered strong quarterly results. That was the biggest one-day jump for IBM since January 2009. Even so, the stock remains down 3.9% for the year.

IBM’s gain was responsible for 89 points of the Dow’s increase Wednesday, and Goldman Sachs accounted for 40 points of its climb.

Financial stocks led the gainers. Goldman Sachs ticked up 2.5% to $242.03. Assurant climbed 6.2% to $101.80 after the insurer said it would buy Warranty Group for $2.5 billion.

Northern Trust climbed 3.8% to $94.58 after the bank’s earnings and revenue beat analysts’ estimates. The bank also said it plans to cut $250 million in annual spending by 2020.

Investors also sized up corporate deals and other developments.

Anthem, the second-largest U.S. health insurer, rose 2.4% to $191.79 after announcing that it had entered a prescription benefits management deal with CVS. CVS rose 2% to $74.10.

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Nielsen Holdings climbed 4.2% to $41.69 after the longtime tracker of TV viewership said it now has a way to collect details on the number of people who watch programs on streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon. Nielsen said eight television networks and studios, including ABC and NBC, have already subscribed to its new service.

Electronic Arts slid 2.4% to $113.16 after the video game company said it will postpone the release of an upcoming “Star Wars” game to make changes. The game was scheduled to be released next year or in early 2019. EA is also closing down its Visceral Games studio.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.34% from 2.30%.

Oil prices recovered from an early slide. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 16 cents to $52.04 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 27 cents to $58.15 a barrel.

Shares of drilling and oil production firms declined, part of a steep slide in energy stocks. Range Resources fell 2.3% to $19.

Wholesale gasoline rose a penny to $1.64 a gallon. Heating oil fell a penny to $1.80 a gallon. Natural gas fell 11 cents, or 3.6%, to $2.85 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $3.20 to $1,283 an ounce. Silver fell 4 cents to $17 an ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $3.18 a pound.

The dollar rose to 112.90 yen from 112.18 yen. The euro rose to $1.1802 from $1.1772.

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Major European stock indexes rose. Germany’s DAX gained 0.3%. France’s CAC 40 and the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares both rose 0.4%. In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.1%, South Korea’s Kospi lost nearly 0.1%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was flat.


UPDATES:

4:20 p.m.: This article was updated with closing prices, context and analyst comment.

This article was originally published at 9:05 a.m.


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