Nasdaq at record for 4th day in row
The Nasdaq composite index notched its fourth record-high close in a row Tuesday, eking out a modest gain on a day when the other major U.S. stock indexes barely budged.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed unchanged, while the Dow Jones industrial average posted a slight loss. More stocks rose than fell on the New York Stock Exchange.
Consumer-focused companies, banks and healthcare stocks were among the biggest gainers. Real estate companies lagged the most. Energy stocks fell following a drop in crude oil prices.
Encouraging reports on small-business confidence and job openings helped keep stocks in the green early in the day. But later, the indexes began to waver.
“I do think the market stays kind of quiet until it really hits earnings season,” said David Chalupnik, head of equities for Nuveen Asset Management.
Although the busiest stretch of the next corporate earnings season doesn’t begin until Friday, several firms reported outlooks or preliminary results Tuesday that pleased investors.
Illumina jumped 16.6% to $165.04 after it reported better-than-expected fourthquarter sales. The San Diego company also launched a new genetic sequencing system called NovaSeq.
Alaska Air Group rose 5.2% to $92 after the airline, which bought Virgin America in December, reported strong monthly results.
Zimmer Biomet climbed 6.2% to $113.67 after the medical device maker projected better-than-expected fourth-quarter sales.
Other firms’ outlooks put traders in a selling mood.
Ascena Retail Group slumped 10% to $5.41 after the company slashed its profit forecast, citing holiday season sales, which fell for most of its store chains, including Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and Dressbarn.
Meanwhile, investors boosted Pacific Continental on news that the holding company for Pacific Continental Bank will be bought by Columbia Banking System for $644 million. Pacific Continental shares leaped 25.7% to $26.15. Columbia shares slid 2.9% to $42.05.
Valeant Pharmaceuticals jumped 6.8% to $16.40 after the Canadian drugmaker said it will sell $2 billion in assets to pay down debt.
U.S. benchmark crude oil fell $1.14, or 2.2%, to $50.82 a barrel. Brent crude fell $1.30, or 2.4%, to $53.64 a barrel.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.38% from 2.37%.
The pound held steady at $1.2163. The dollar fell to 115.73 yen from Monday’s 116.06. The euro fell to $1.0560 from $1.0577.
Gold edged up 60 cents to $1,185.50 an ounce. Silver rose 17 cents to $16.85 an ounce. Copper rose 7 cents to $2.61 a pound.