Technology, Industrials and Banks Lead Rally as Stocks Rise

NEW YORK (AP) -

Technology companies, banks and industrial companies all rose Thursday as investors got ready for big banks to announce their first-quarter results and let go of some of their concerns about the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

Big tech companies like Apple and Microsoft, the market’s leaders over the last year, rose again. Industrial companies like Boeing and Caterpillar gained ground as well, with airlines climbing after Delta reported solid results in the first quarter. Bond prices dropped and interest rates rose, which helped banks.

Friday morning, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and PNC Financial Services will report their first batch of quarterly results since last year’s corporate tax cut went into effect.

The S&P 500 index gained 21.80 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,663.99. The Dow Jones industrial average added 293.60 points, or 1.2 percent, to 24,483.05. The Nasdaq composite climbed 71.22 points, or 1 percent, to 7,140.25. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks advanced 10.52 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,557.33.

The S&P 500, a benchmark that is used by many index funds, has fallen for three of the last four weeks, but it’s up 2.3 percent so far this week as investors felt new proposals by Chinese President Xi Jinping could help avert a trade war. On Thursday China’s government denied that Xi was trying to resolve the dispute and said negotiations with the U.S. aren’t possible right now.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.84 percent from 2.79 percent. That helped banks because higher yields mean they can make more money from mortgages and other types of loans. Big dividend stocks like utilities and household goods companies fell, as investors see them as an alternative to bonds and are less interested in buying them when yields rise.

Home goods retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond plunged after it gave a weak forecast for the fiscal year. The company also said it expects its earnings to decline next year and its stock fell 20 percent to $17.21. Online rival Amazon gained 1.5 percent to $1,448.50.

Oil prices continued to trade at three-year highs. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.4 percent to $67.07 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 0.1 percent to $72.02 a barrel in London.

Precious metals prices tumbled. Gold dropped 1.3 percent to $1,341.90 an ounce and silver fell 1.8 percent to $16.47 an ounce. Copper lost 1.7 percent to $3.06 a pound.

Wholesale gasoline lost 0.6 percent to $2.05 a gallon. Heating oil dipped 0.4 percent to $2.08 a gallon. Natural gas rose 0.4 percent to $2.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Bristol-Myers Squibb fell and Pfizer rose after an analyst for Citi Investment Research said a deal between the two drugmakers isn’t likely to happen. Bristol-Myers lost 2.2 percent to $58.84, giving it a market value of $96 billion. Pfizer rose 1.5 percent to $36.52.

  • Drugmaker Mallinckrodt dropped 6.8 percent to $13.89 after a former employee filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the company. Rasvinder Dhaliwal said Mallinckrodt asked her to mislead an insurance company so it would cover Acthar gel, a drug that brings in more than one third of Mallinckrodt’s revenue, and said an executive admitted the company misled payers about Acthar.