Equipment Companies Power Dow and S&P 500 to New Records

NEW YORK (AP) -

The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 indexes again set records Wednesday in a quiet day of pre-holiday trading. Machinery and equipment makers climbed after strong results from Deere, but technology companies fell.

Stocks opened mostly lower, but they slowly recovered. Industrial companies like Caterpillar and United Technologies continued to rise. Banks also rose as bond yields climbed. Companies that make hardware and network devices skidded after printer and PC maker HP gave a weak profit forecast.

“It sends kind of a chill through the sector,” said Sameer Samana, a strategist for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

The Dow rose 59.31 points, or 0.3 percent, to 19,083.18. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged up 1.78 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,204.72. The Nasdaq composite lost 5.67 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,380.68.

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday and will close early on Friday.

The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks climbed for the 14th day in a row, its longest winning streak since early 1996. It has closed at a record high for nine consecutive days. It’s up 16 percent over that time and has now climbed 18 percent this year.

Deere, an agricultural and construction equipment maker, reported a bigger profit than analysts expected even though its business has been hurt by a construction slowdown and low commodity prices, which have caused farmers to cut back on purchases of equipment. The stock advanced $10.16, or 11 percent, to $102.17, its highest-ever closing price.

Already trading at all-time highs, industrial companies continued to rise after Deere’s report. Construction and mining equipment maker Caterpillar gained $2.56, or 2.7 percent, to $96.18. United Technologies, which makes elevators, jet engines and other things, added $1.17, or 1.1 percent, to $108.11. Both companies are Dow components, which contributed to the Dow’s big gain.

Printer and PC maker HP lost ground after it issued a profit forecast that disappointed investors. Its stock gave up $1.08, or 6.8 percent, to $14.87. Tech stocks did very well this summer, but they have lagged the market since the presidential election.

Bond prices dropped, sending yields higher. The yield on the 2-year Treasury note rose to 1.13 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 2.36 percent from 2.31 percent.

Higher bond yields are linked to higher interest rates, so the rising yields helped bank stocks turn higher. Capital One rose $2.03, or 2.5 percent, to $84.62 and Sterling Bancorp jumped 45 cents, or 2 percent, to $23.50. The S&P 500 financial index is up 12 percent since the election while the S&P 500 itself is up 3 percent.

The price of gold reached its lowest level since February as 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.

The dollar rose to 112.60 yen from 111.14 yen. The euro fell to $1.0549 from $1.0624. The U.S. currency hasn’t been this strong since March 2003. That’s good news for U.S. companies that import goods, but it hurts businesses that get a lot of revenue from overseas.