Stocks Tick Upward, But Banks Skid


U.S. stock indexes finished with small gains Wednesday as technology companies get a boost and household goods companies also rose. However a recent decline in interest rates continued to put pressure on banks. Technology companies rose for the tenth day in a row.

Companies that make and sell household goods, like Colgate-Palmolive and Wal-Mart, gained ground as well. Energy companies declined and banks fell again as interest rates have weakened since late October, which makes mortgages and other loans less profitable.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.74 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,594.38. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 6.13 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 23,563.36. The Nasdaq composite rose 21.34 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,789.12. All three closed at record highs. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 2.64 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,481.73.

Technology companies have climbed almost 40 percent in the last 12 months including Wednesday’s gains. Take-Two jumped after its second-quarter revenue blew past Wall Street’s estimates. Analysts said its revenue from online games and digital spending was better than expected. The stock soared $11.26, or 10.6 percent, to $117.65.

Bond prices inched lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.33 percent from 2.32 percent. Yields reached a seven-month high in late October but they have slipped since then. Investors expect interest rates to rise a bit more slowly in the future, partly because President Donald Trump named Jay Powell as his choice for Federal Reserve chair last month. Powell is expected to take a similar approach to current Fed Chair Janet Yellen and raise rates at a gradual clip.

Bank of America fell 39 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $26.79 and Comerica shed $1.02, or 1.3 percent, to $76.14. Still, banks are trading around their highest levels in a decade.

Time Warner Cable slumped after AT&T said it doesn’t know when its purchase of the media company will close. Reports from The New York Times, CNN and other outlets, citing unidentified people, said the Justice Department wants to require the companies to sell Turner Broadcasting, or else sell satellite provider DirecTV, which AT&T bought in 2015. Time Warner Cable has slumped over the last month as investors wonder if the $85 billion deal will still happen.

On Wednesday Time Warner slid $6.16, or 6.5 percent, to $88.50 and AT&T rose 37 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $33.44.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell 39 cents to $56.81 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 20 cents to $63.49 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.82 a gallon. Heating oil stayed at $1.92 a gallon. Natural gas picked up 2 cents to $3.18 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold rose $7.90 to $1,283.70 an ounce. Silver jumped 20 cents to $17.14 an ounce. Copper rose 1 cent to $3.10 a pound.

The dollar fell to 113.78 yen from 113.87 yen. The euro rose to $1.1596 from $1.1589.

Germany’s DAX gained a sliver of a point and the French CAC 40 dropped 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index in Britain rose 0.2 percent. In Japan the Nikkei 225 index shed 0.1 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 0.3 percent. The Kospi in South Korea advanced 0.3 percent.