Gains for Familiar Tech, Retail Names Send Stocks to Records

Traders laugh on  the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)
Traders laugh on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Major U.S. stock indexes are reaching record highs Tuesday as big-name technology companies like Apple trade higher. Retailers including Amazon and Nike also rose. The Dow Jones industrial average traded above 19,900 for the first time. The Federal Reserve began its last policy meeting of the year, and it’s widely expected to announce an increase in interest rates on Wednesday.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 113 points, or 0.6 percent, to 19,909 as of 12:20 p.m. Eastern time. The blue-chip index traded as high as 19,918. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 16 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,272. The Nasdaq composite climbed 68 points, or 1.3 percent, to 5,480. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks picked up 1 point to 1,374.

TECH IS TOPS: Some of the largest gains belong to companies that have lagged the market during its post-election rally. Those included technology and health care companies. Apple added $2.34, or 2.1 percent, to $115.64 and Facebook climbed $3.29, or 2.8 percent, to $121.06. Drug companies also rose. Hepatitis C drug maker Gilead Sciences gained $2.69, or 3.7 percent, to $75.69 and Amgen rose $4.07, or 2.8 percent, to $149.83.

Meanwhile, companies that have performed very well over the last five weeks took some losses. Materials companies fell, as copper and gold producer Freeport-McMoRan gave up 55 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $14.81 and fertilizer maker Mosaic slid 89 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $29.35. Industrial companies also declined, and banks, which have surged 17 percent since the election, slumped as well.

DRINK TO THAT: Japanese brewer Asahi Group said it will pay $7.8 billion to buy five beer brands in Eastern Europe from Anheuser-Busch InBev, the maker of Budweiser. The brands include Pilsner Urquell. In October, AB InBev bought rival SABMiller, and during those negotiations Asahi bought a group of Western European brands including Peroni and Grolsch. AB InBev picked up $1.57, or 1.5 percent, to $105.26.

FED WATCH: Investors expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates when it ends a policy meeting Wednesday. The central bank last raised interest rates a year ago. It’s kept rates ultra-low since the 2008 financial crisis, but its leaders have suggested the U.S. economy is improving enough to start gradually raising rates. Low interest rates have helped drive stock prices higher but they also punish savers who look for income from bank accounts and bonds.

CONSUMER CLIMBERS: Consumer-focused companies rose more than the rest of the market. Online retailer Amazon rose $21.91, or 2.9 percent, to $782.04 and shoe and athletic apparel maker Nike jumped $1.57, or 3 percent, to $53.11. Newell Brands, which owns brands including Rubbermaid, Elmer’s and Mr. Coffee, picked up $1.02, or 2.2 percent, to $47.50.

HIGH FLIER: JetBlue Airways rose after the company gave a stronger-than-expected guidance for a key revenue measure and reported improvement in November. Its stock gained $1.36, or 6.3 percent, to $22.98.

DEAL DELAY: Health technology company Inovalon cut its quarterly revenue guidance by about 10 percent. It said a potential client suffered a business setback and wasn’t able to complete a multi-year deal with Inovalon. The company expected $40 million in revenue from that potential client in the fourth quarter. Inovalon’s stock lost $5.32, or 35.9 percent, to $9.53.

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