Tech, health care companies help lift US stocks higher
(AP) — U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in late-afternoon trading Wednesday as the market bounced back from modest losses a day earlier. The rally drove the Dow Jones industrial average back above 26,000 points and had the Standard & Poor’s 500 index on course for a record high close. Technology and health care companies accounted for much of the gains. Financials stocks also rose, even as some big banks fell after reporting hefty quarterly losses.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 26 points, or 1 percent, to 2,803 as of 3:36 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow gained 307 points, or 1.2 percent, to 26,100. The Nasdaq added 73 points, or 1 percent, to 7,297. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 14 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,587.
THE QUOTE: “If you look at earnings growth, and then also as people are trying to digest the impact of corporate tax reform, when you do see a sell-off you do see people coming into the market and trying to find some bargains,” said Nana Adae, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank.
TECH RALLY: Technology companies notched solid gains. Lam Research led all stocks in the S&P 500, climbing $14.04, or 7.4 percent, to $204.43.
HEALTHY MOVES: Investors bid up shares in health care stocks, including Anthem. The insurer added $7.93, or 3.3 percent, to $249.68.
DATA BOOST: Industrial stocks were moving higher after the Federal Reserve said U.S. industrial production rose 0.9 percent in December, propelled by a surge in utility output. Boeing led the sector’s big gainers, rising $13.31, or 4 percent, to $348.47.
DEAL TALK: Juno Therapeutics soared 50.9 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported that biotech drugmaker Celgene might buy it. Juno is one of several companies developing therapies that involve genetically engineering patients’ blood cells to fight cancer. Juno rose $23.23 to $68.83. Celgene fell $2.86, or 2.7 percent, to $101.96.
ROUGH ROAD: Ford Motor slumped 6.7 percent after the automaker gave a disappointing profit forecast for the year because of weaker sales in the U.S., higher commodity costs and its investments in new electric and hybrid cars. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, giving up 87 cents to $12.23.
DEEPENING SLIDE: General Electric fell 5 percent on reports that the industrial conglomerate might split itself up. GE shares were trading at a six-year low, shedding 91 cents to $17.31.
BANK EARNINGS: Goldman Sachs and Bank of America were down following their latest quarterly results. Goldman said it lost $1.93 billion in the fourth quarter as the investment bank had to record more than $4 billion in charges related to the new U.S. tax law.
It also said its trading desks had a weak quarter. Bank of America said its fourth-quarter profits fell by nearly half from a year ago, as the bank had to book $2.9 billion in charges related to the tax law. Goldman shares declined $5.47, or 2.1 percent, to $252.99, while Bank of America lost 7 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $31.17.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 24 cents to settle at $63.97 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 23 cents to close at $69.38 a barrel. Heating oil gained a penny to $2.07 a gallon. Wholesale gasoline added 2 cents to $1.86 a gallon. Natural gas picked up 10 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $3.23 per 1,000 cubic feet.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.57 percent from 2.54 percent late Wednesday.
METALS: Gold rose $2.10 to $1,339.20 an ounce. Silver dropped 2 cents to $17.17 an ounce. Copper fell 3 cents to $3.19 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.13 yen from 110.30 yen on Wednesday. The euro fell to $1.2235 from $1.2271.
BITCOIN: The price of bitcoin extended its slide, though by late afternoon it had pared some of its losses from earlier in the day. The digital currency was down 6.5 percent to $10,608, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were 2.4 percent lower at $10,790. The futures allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin. Many finance pros believe bitcoin is in a speculative bubble that could burst any time.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX lost 0.5 percent, while the CAC 40 in France slipped 0.4 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 declined 0.4 percent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 0.4 percent, while the Kospi in South Korea shed 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rebounded from earlier losses to gain 0.3 percent.