JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., led a rally in financial stocks after its first-quarter results came in better than analysts expected. Railroad operators and auto parts suppliers also gained ground, while consumergoods makers struggled. Gains over the last two days have brought stocks to their highest levels of 2016.
The& Dow& Jones industrial average jumped 187.03 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,908.28. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 20.70 points, or 1 percent, to 2,082.42. The Nasdaq composite index advanced 75.33 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,947.42.
JPMorgan, the largest bank in the U.S. and the first to report its earnings, said its first-quarter profit fell because of weak results in its investment banking business. Its profit and revenue were bigger than analysts expected, however, and the stock rose $2.51, or 4.2 percent, to $61.79. Bank of America picked up 52 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $13.79 and Wells Fargo rose $1.26, or 2.6 percent, to $49.03. Citigroup jumped $2.35, or 5.6 percent, to $44.25.
Banks have slumped this year because investors are worried they will take big losses on loans to energy companies, which did hurt JPMorgan’s results. Low interest rates are also affecting bank stocks because they reduce the profits banks can make on loans.
Railroad operator CSX gained $1.04, or 4.2 percent, to $26.03. The company’s profit fell as demand for coal got weaker and CSX hauled less freight, but expenses fell, partly because fuel costs dropped. CSX said it plans to cut more spending.
Other railroad stocks surged. Union Pacific added $2.08, or 2.6 percent, to $81.72 and Norfolk Southern rose $2.42, or 3.1 percent, to $81.14.
Consumer goods makers also fell. The Commerce Department said retail sales fell a little in March, although the Federal Reserve said overall consumer spending grew a bit in February and March.
Verizon Communications slipped after around 39,000 landline and cable workers walked off the job Wednesday morning. Verizon’s contracts with its unions expired about eight months ago and little progress has been made in negotiations. The stock declined 65 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $51.29.
France’s CAC 40 rose 3.3 percent and Germany’s DAX added 2.7 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain rose 1.9 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 2.8 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 3.2 percent.
U.S. crude slipped 41 cents, or 1 percent, to $41.76 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil pricing, fell 51 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $44.18 a barrel in London.
In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.53 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.27 a gallon. Natural gas rose 3 cents to $2.04 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note slipped to 1.76 percent from 1.78 percent. The dollar rose to 109.25 yen from 108.53 yen and the euro fell to $1.1285 from $1.1397.
Precious and industrial metals futures ended mixed. Gold lost $12.60 to $1,248.30 an ounce, silver edged up 10 cents to $16.33 an ounce and copper rose two cents to $2.17 a pound.