Stocks edge higher as banks, industrials offset tech slide
Stocks capped another wobbly day of trading on Wall Street with modest gains Tuesday, as financial and industrial companies helped lift the market, outweighing a pullback in technology stocks.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 recovered from an early slip and eked out a 0.1% gain, enough to eclipse the record high it set Friday. The majority of companies in the benchmark index made gains, but they were kept in check by technology companies, which have outsized weight on the S&P 500.
Banks made some of the strongest gains as bond yields edged higher. Banks benefit from higher yields, which allow them to charge higher interest rates on loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.35% from 1.31% late Monday.
Oil prices pulled up after sliding most of the last week and into Monday. U.S. benchmark crude oil rose 2.7% and helped lift the S&P 500’s energy sector to a 1.7% gain. Exxon Mobil rose 1.7% and Chevron gained 1.8%.
The broader market remains choppy with investors in the midst of a relatively quiet week. The latest round of corporate earnings is nearly finished and there are only a few pieces of economic data expected.
“We think this is a growing market and a growing economy and there’s room for this market to move,” said Rob Haworth, senior investment strategy director at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “But that growth story does have some risk to it.”
There’s a giant gap between what many companies have pledged and what’s actually needed.
The S&P 500 grew 4.40 points to 4,436.75. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 162.82 points, or 0.5%, to 35,264.67. The blue-chip index also notched an all-time high.
The slide in technology stocks weighed on the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which fell 72.09 points, or 0.5%, to 14,788.09. Small-company stocks rose. The Russell 2000 index gained 4.55 points, or 0.2%, to close at 2,239.36.
Wall Street is still trying to gauge the pace of economic growth amid new worries about the latest wave of COVID-19 from the more contagious Delta variant. Parts of Japan, including Tokyo, remain under a state of emergency as surging numbers of infections put more COVID-19 patients in already overburdened hospitals.
Analysts have said that the pace of economic growth will probably continue to slow as the year rolls on, but the latest surge of the virus has raised more concerns about just how much. Investors could have a better sense of the virus’ effect on the economy in the coming months as schools reopen from summer break and people try to get back to normal activities, Haworth said.
Inflation concerns and the Federal Reserve’s future plans to ease up on its support for low interest rates also hang over the markets.
Earnings season is wrapping up with several big names. Sysco surged 6.5% after the food distributor reported quarterly results that topped Wall Street’s estimates.
Ebay will report its results Wednesday and Walt Disney will report results Thursday.
Kansas City Southern jumped 7.5% after Canadian Pacific raised its offer for the railroad operator, reigniting a bidding war with Canadian National.
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