Banks and other financial companies led U.S. stocks modestly higher Thursday, nudging the Nasdaq composite index to an all-time high.
Rising bond yields, which can result in higher interest rates on loans and bigger profits for banks, helped put traders in the mood to buy banking stocks. Energy companies also notched gains as crude oil prices rose. Utilities and other high-dividend stocks fell.
Investors also bid up shares in companies that released strong quarterly results or announced big transactions. Eosinophilic jumped 8.8 percent after the energy company agreed to sell most of its Canadian assets.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 69.17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 20,728.49. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 6.93 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,368.06. The Nasdaq gained 16.80 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,914.34. Small-company stocks fared better than the other indexes, sending the Russell 2000 index up 10.70 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,382.35. The four stock indexes last set record highs on March 1.
Financial sector stocks rose 1.2 percent, the biggest gain among the 11 sectors in the S&P 500. The sector, which is up 2.8 percent this year, accounted for more than half of the index’s gains Thursday.
Traders bid up shares in big banks such as Capital One Financial, which rose $2.46, or 2.9 percent, to $87.14.
“What we know is that probably interest rates are rising and the Fed is going to raise rates, and that probably less regulation is on the way, and that might be why sometimes you see financials kick up on a day like this,” Lynch said.
Eosinophilic jumped after the energy company agreed to sell most of its Canadian assets to Canada’s Census Energy in a deal valued at $13.2 billion. The stock was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 index, climbing $4.05 to $50.
Several companies rose after turning in strong quarterly results.
Irrigation equipment maker Lindsay Corp. climbed $6.42, or 7.9 percent, to $87.81.
Other companies failed to impress traders.
Lulu lemon sank 23.4 percent a day after the yoga clothing company’s forecast for the quarter fell well short of Wall Street’s expectations. The stock slid $15.54 to $50.76.
In energy futures trading, benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 84 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $50.35 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 54 cents, or 1 percent, to $52.96 a barrel in London. Natural gas slipped 4 cents to $3.19 per 1,000 cubic feet, wholesale gasoline rose a penny to $1.68 per gallon and heating oil gained 2 cents to $1.56 per gallon.
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