U.S. stocks rose for the fourth day in a row Tuesday as they continued to recover the ground they lost last week. Major indexes approached record highs again.
Most of the gains went to banks, which surged as bond yields jumped. That will allow them to charge higher rates on loans. Banks took steep losses last Wednesday, when stocks had their worst day since September. Scientific instrument companies and drugmakers also rose. However auto parts companies were hammered after poor third-quarter results from AutoZone, and home builders fell after sales of new homes sank in April.
The four-day rally has restored most of the market’s losses and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index is almost back to record highs.
“The market was simply reminded that there’s political risk out there and it reacted to that reminder,” said Matthew Peterson, chief wealth strategist for LPL Financial. Peterson said he doesn’t think long-term investors have made big changes to their portfolios in response to last week’s drop, which followed allegations President Donald Trump asked the FBI to end an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Peterson says high stock prices and the calm market make stocks more vulnerable to surprises from the political arena.
The S&P 500 added 4.40 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,398.42. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 43.08 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,937.91. The Nasdaq composite rose 5.09 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,138.71. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks gained 3.84 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,380.98.
Bond prices turned lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.28 percent from 2.25 percent. That helped bank stocks like JPMorgan Chase, which gained $1.06, or 1.3 percent, to $85.76 and BB&T, which rose 63 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $43.03.
Scientific instrument maker Agilent Technologies raised its annual profit forecast after its second-quarter profit and sales beat Wall Street estimates. Its shares gained $2.58, or 4.6 percent, to $58.66. Industrial and medical device maker Danaher picked up $1.04, or 1.3 percent, to $83.95.
Auto parts retailer AutoZone took its worst one-day loss in eight and a half years as high costs and lower sales at older locations hurt its results. Its stock fell $78.09, or 11.8 percent, to $581.40. O’Reilly Automotive sank $8.28, or 3.3 percent, to $240.18 and Advance Auto Parts gave up $6.71, or 4.6 percent, to $140.66. All have tumbled this year as investors worried about slowing car sales.
Sales of new homes fell 11 percent in April from the month before, the biggest drop in more than two years. Sales had reached a nine-year high in March, and experts said the decline was most likely a blip. Homebuilder NVR fell $61.27, or 2.6 percent, to $2,296 and D.R. Horton lost 54 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $33.37. Home improvement retailer Lowe’s lost $1.71, or 2 percent, to $82.34 and Home Depot also slipped.
Nokia climbed after the company said it settled its legal disputes with Apple. The two companies said they will work together and that Nokia will get a cash payment from Apple. The Finnish company was once the biggest cellphone maker in the world, but it sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2014 and is now a network infrastructure provider. Its U.S. shares rose 33 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $6.54.
Fiat Chrysler sank after the U.S. government sued the automaker, saying some of diesel pickup trucks and Jeep SUVs included software that cheated emissions tests. The Department of Justice said the software let the vehicles’ engines emit more pollution on the road than during Environmental Protection Agency lab testing.
Fiat Chrysler stock lost 44 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $10.32.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 34 cents to $51.47 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 28 cents to $54.15 a barrel in London.
Wholesale gasoline remained at $1.66 a gallon and heating oil finished where it started, at $1.61 a gallon. Natural gas sank 11 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $3.22 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold fell $5.90 to $1,255.50 an ounce. Silver lost 5 cents to $17.14 an ounce. Copper remained at $2.60 a pound.
The dollar rose to 111.76 yen from 111.20 yen. The euro declined to $1.1185 from $1.1234.
European stocks traded slightly higher. The CAC 40 in France rose 0.5 percent. Germany’s DAX and the FTSE 100 index in Britain both added 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.1 percent. The South Korean Kospi gained 0.7 percent.