Utilities, real estate and other big-dividend-paying companies led U.S. stocks mostly higher Wednesday, pushing the Nasdaq composite to a new record for the second day in a row.
The gains by big-dividend-paying stocks came as bond yields fell, making those traditional safe-haven companies more attractive to investors seeking income. Banks and other financial stocks were the market’s biggest laggards.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 1.59 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,294.67. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.95 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,054.34. The Nasdaq added 8.24 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,682.45. The index also closed at a record high on Tuesday and last Friday. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks fell 2.32 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,358.74.
Bond prices rose. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.34 percent from 2.40 percent late Tuesday. That yield is a benchmark used to set interest rates on many kinds of loans including home mortgages.
The stock indexes headed lower as trading opened Wednesday and investors weighed the latest company earnings. The market recovered some of its losses by midmorning after crude oil prices turned higher following an early slide.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose 17 cents, or 0.3 percent, to close at $52.34 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil prices, climbed 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, to close at $55.12 a barrel in London.
Investors bid up shares in companies that posted better-than-expected quarterly results and outlooks.
Strong fiscal third-quarter earnings propelled Microchip Technology 6 percent higher, making it the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. The stock climbed $4.18 to $73.80.
Allergan also got a lift from its quarterly report card, adding $8.56, or 3.7 percent, to $241.17.
Several companies served up earnings and forecasts that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, sending their shares lower.
Akamai Technologies tumbled 10.6 percent after the cloud services company’s latest guidance disappointed investors. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, sliding $7.57 to $63.55.
More than half of the companies in the S&P 500 index have reported quarterly results so far, and roughly 60 percent have posted earnings that beat financial analysts’ estimates.
Coca-Cola, Twitter and Viacom are among the big companies due to report results Thursday.
Major stock indexes in Europe were mixed.
Germany’s DAX fell 0.1 percent, while France’s CAC 40 rose 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was flat. Earlier in Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rebounded from early losses to rise 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.7 percent. Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent.
In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline rose 7 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $1.55 a gallon, while heating oil added 1 cent to $1.64 a gallon. Natural gas futures were little changed at $3.13 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Among metals, the price of gold added $3.40 to $1,239.50 an ounce. Silver fell 5 cents to $17.71 an ounce. Copper rose 3 cents to $2.67 a pound.
The dollar fell to 112.05 yen from 112.19 yen on Tuesday. The euro weakened to $1.0687 from $1.0696.