U.S. stocks are mostly lower Wednesday after they set records the last two days, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average continues to reach all-time highs as industrial companies climb. Those gains came after strong results from farm equipment maker Deere. However technology stocks are lower after HP released a weak profit forecast.
KEEPING SCORE: Helped by gains for industrial companies Caterpillar and United Technologies, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 41 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,064 as of three p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped one point to 2,202. The Nasdaq composite lost 17 points, or 0.3 percent, to reach 5,368. Trading was relatively light ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. markets will be closed Thursday and will close early on Friday.
RISING RUSSELL RECORDS: The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks, which has risen for the previous 13 trading days, fell in early trading but recovered and moved 0.2 percent higher. The index has closed at a record high for eight consecutive days. It’s up 18 percent this year, more than twice as much as the S&P 500, which tracks large companies.
CALL TECH SUPPORT: Printer and PC maker HP, considered a bellwether for technology companies, lost ground after it issued a profit forecast that disappointed investors. Its stock gave up $1.16, or 7.3 percent, to reach $14.79. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, slid $8.39, or 1.1 percent, to $776.61 and Microsoft lost 75 cents, or 1.2 percent, to get to $60.37.
OH, DEERE! Agricultural and construction equipment maker Deere reported a bigger profit than analysts expected. Deere’s business has been hurt by a slowdown construction and low commodity prices, which have caused farmers to cut back on purchases of equipment. The stock advanced $10, or 10.9 percent, to $102.01 and reached an all-time high.
START YOUR ENGINES: Industrial companies are trading at all-time highs and continued to rise after Deere’s report. Construction and mining equipment maker Caterpillar gained $2.50, or 2.7 percent, to reach $96.12. United Technologies, which makes elevators, jet engines and other things, rose $1.20, or 1.1 percent, to $108.14.
BONDS: Bond prices dropped, sending yields higher. The yield on the 2-year Treasury note rose to 1.14 percent from 1.09 percent. The yield on that note is at its highest in more than six years. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.35 percent from 2.31 percent, its highest in almost a year and a half.
MAKING BANK: Higher bond yields are linked to higher interest rates, so the rising yields helped bank stocks turn higher. Capital One rose $1.99, or 2.4 percent, to $84.58 and First Bancorp jumped 7 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $6.65. The S&P 500 financial index is up 11 percent since the election while the S&P 500 itself is up 3 percent.
As bond yields rose, investors sold shares of real estate investment trusts, utilities, and companies that sell household goods. Those companies are sometimes compared to bonds because they pay large dividends. When bonds yields rise, those stocks become less appealing to investors seeking income. AvalonBay Communities fell $2.02, or 1.2 percent, to $160.38 and American Water Works shed $1.68, or 2.3 percent, to reach $72.46.
ELI LILLY TUMBLES: Eli Lilly dropped after saying a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease failed in a clinical trial. The company said solanezumab did not slow down patients’ mental decline compared to a placebo. Lilly fell $7.88, or 10.4 percent, to $68.11, its lowest value in almost two years. Biogen, which is also studying a treatment for the disease, sank $12.44, or 3.9 percent, to $305.67.
CURRENCY: The dollar climbed higher and rose to 112.58 yen from 111.14 yen. The euro fell to $1.0550 from $1.0624. The U.S. currency hasn’t been this strong since March 2003.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 7 cents to $47.96 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 17 cents to $48.95 a barrel in London.
METALS: The price of gold fell to its lowest level since February. It tumbled $21.90, or 1.8 percent, to $1,189.30 an ounce. Silver fell 24 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $16.39 an ounce. But copper picked up 6 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $2.61 a pound.
PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: Gold prices have skidded since the election but copper prices have surged. The metal’s price is linked to economic expansion because of its use in construction and other areas, and it’s at its highest price in more than a year. It jumped in late October and November, when the broader market was falling, as investors wondered about the outcome of the presidential election, and at one point it closed higher for 14 days in a row.
The metal’s price kept rising after the election, as investors hope demand will increase under a potential infrastructure stimulus from President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress.
Gold and copper producer Freeport-McMoRan surged 96 cents, or 6.3 percent, to $16.08.
OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline picked up 1 cent to $1.42 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.52 per gallon. Natural gas rose 4 cents to $3.03 per 1,000 cubic feet.
OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX index shed 0.5 percent and the CAC 40 in France dropped 0.4 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was slightly lower. The Kospi in South Korea advanced 0.2 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended unchanged. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.