Oil, banks push Dow to high; tech firms dive
Energy companies still riding buzz from news that OPEC plans to cut oil production next year.
Technology companies plunged Thursday, and high-dividend stocks also took hefty losses as bond yields rose to their highest level in more than a year. But more big gains for blue-chip banking and oil stocks pulled the Dow Jones industrial average to a record high.
Big names like Facebook and Oracle fell as technology companies took their biggest losses in two months. Rising bond yields pushed income-seeking investors away from real estate and utility companies. Health care stocks also slumped.
Banks continued to soar as investors expect them to make bigger profits on loans as interest rates rise. Oil prices climbed for the second day after the countries of OPEC agreed to trim oil production next year.
Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist for Voya Investment Strategies, said a focus on President-elect Donald Trump’s trade policies might be hurting tech stocks. On Thursday Trump toured a Carrier factory in Indiana after announcing the company will keep some operations at the facility instead of moving them to Mexico. He warned of consequences for companies that send jobs out of the country.
“If you’re going to bring jobs back to America and make stuff here, tech is going to be pretty vulnerable,” she said. “If there’s going to be a trade war, tech is pretty vulnerable.”
The Dow gained 68.35 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,191.93, its highest close on record. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 7.73 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,191.08. The Nasdaq composite fell 72.57 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,251.11.
Stock indexes set records after the presidential election last month, but lately they have wobbled as different industries were pulled in opposite directions.
Bond prices continued to tumble, sending benchmark yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.44 percent from 2.38 percent, its highest since July 2015. That sent bank stocks higher because higher bond yields are linked to higher interest rates, which allow banks to make more money from lending.
Goldman Sachs jumped $7.34, or 3.3 percent, to $226.63 and JPMorgan Chase picked up $1.62, or 2 percent, to $81.79. Goldman is trading at its highest price since December 2007.
Facebook skidded $3.32, or 2.8 percent, to $115.10 and chipmaker Analog Devices dropped $5.23, or 7 percent, to $69.01. Microsoft lost $1.06, or 1.8 percent, to $59.20.
After a big gain Wednesday, the dollar slipped to 114.04 yen from 114.22 yen. The euro rose to $1.0645 from $1.0599. In the last few weeks the dollar has reached a 13-year high compared to other currencies.
Oil prices rallied again and reached their highest level since mid-October. Benchmark U.S. crude picked up $1.62, or 3.3 percent, to close at $51.06 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, added $2.10, or 4.1 percent, to $53.94 a barrel in London. Chevron gained $1.73, or 1.6 percent, to $113.29 and Phillips 66 rose $1.90, or 2.3 percent, to $84.98.
The price of oil has mostly traded between $40 and $50 a barrel since early April. It dipped as low as $26 a barrel in February.
Auto sales climbed in November and broke out of a recent slump. U.S. auto sales broke records last year and there have been some signs recently that demand is waning, but on Thursday, a Toyota executive said he thought sales could set a record in 2016.
GM and Ford climbed after they reported stronger sales growth than analysts expected. Ford gained 47 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $12.43 and General Motors rose $1.90, or 5.5 percent, to $36.43.