Banks Lead U.S. Stocks Broadly Higher in Morning Trading

Banks, U.S. Stocks, Morning Trading
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in morning trading Wednesday, recouping some of the losses from a day earlier. Banks and other financial companies were up the most. Utilities were the only laggard. Investors eyed the latest company earnings and deal news.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 18 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,438 as of 11:40 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 149 points, or 0.7 percent, to 21,459. The Nasdaq composite increased 50 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,197. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks picked up 21 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,424. The market was coming off a broad sell-off led by technology stocks.

THE QUOTE: “Across the board, sector strength is very, very strong,” said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. “Whoever wanted to sell into the holiday weekend basically did it yesterday and we probably have a positive bias going into the four-day weekend.”

BANKING ON FINANCIALS: Banks and other financial companies were trading higher for the second day in a row as bond yields and interest rates increased further. Higher rates let banks make bigger profits on mortgages and other types of loans. Bank of America was up 57 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $23.84. Capital One Financial moved up $1.89, or 2.3 percent, to $83.27. Prudential Financial rose $2.64, or 2.5 percent, to $107.24.

BEAT THE STREET: General Mills rose 1.9 percent after the maker of Cheerios cereal, Yoplait yogurt and other packaged foods served up fourth-quarter earnings and revenue that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. The stock picked up $1.06 to $56.58.

DONE DEAL: Spectranetics surged 26.2 percent after Dutch electronics and health care technology company Philips said it agreed to buy the medical device company for $38.50 a share, or $1.68 billion. Spectranetics gained $7.98 to $38.38.

HOME SWEET HOME: KB Home climbed 4.3 percent after the homebuilder reported strong earnings. The stock rose 96 cents to $23.78.

DIALED IN: Cal-Amp was up 4.6 percent after the wireless communications company’s latest quarterly results beat financial analysts’ forecasts. The stock rose 88 cents to $20.13.

ENERGY: Oil futures were headed higher. Benchmark U.S. crude was up 35 cents to $44.59 a barrel in New York. The contract gained 86 cents on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international standard, was up 48 cents to $47.40 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.16 from 112.15 yen late Monday. The euro strengthened to $1.1354 from $1.1347.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.22 percent from 2.21 percent late Tuesday.

MARKETS ABROAD: Major stock indexes in Europe declined as investors fretted over the prospect of tighter monetary policy from major central banks. Germany’s DAX was down 0.2 percent, while the CAC 40 of France was down 0.1 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.6 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.6 percent, while Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.5 percent. South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.4 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.7 percent. Shares fell in Taiwan and most of Southeast Asia.

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