Telecoms, banks take Dow to high
Oil-price rally peters out after four days of gains on OPEC’s promise to cut production in 2017.
Stocks posted slight gains on Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to another record, helped by shares of telecommunications companies such as Verizon, Sprint and AT&T.
Small companies and bank stocks also rose as investors continue to speculate that U.S. economic growth will pick up under the incoming Trump administration.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 35.54 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,251.78, a record high close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 7.52 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,212.23 and the Nasdaq composite rose 24.11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,333.
Telecommunications stocks were among the biggest gainers, helped by a myriad of company-specific news. Dow member Verizon climbed 61 cents, or 1 percent, to $50.36 and AT&T rose 72 cents, or 2 percent, to $39.35. Overall, the telecom sector of the S&P 500 rose 1.5 percent.
AT&T rose following reports that its newly launched DirectTV Now service was attracting more subscribers than anticipated, while Verizon rose as the company sold a group of data centers for $3.6 billion.
Separately, Sprint and T-Mobile gained after President-elect Donald Trump said that Japanese company Softbank, which owns the majority of Sprint, was going to invest $50 billion in the U.S. to create 50,000 jobs over the next four years. However, it’s not clear if Softbank’s announcement is new.
Sprint jumped 12 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $8.17, while T-Mobile rose 97 cents, or roughly 2 percent, to $55.99.
Bank stocks also continued to perform well, as they have since the election. The financial services sector of the S&P 500 closed up 1 percent, far more than the broader market. The Russell 2000 index, which is made up of smaller companies, rose 1.1 percent to a new record as well.
Boeing’s stock dropped briefly after President-elect Trump said he believed the U.S. government should cancel an anticipated order for new Air Force One planes. Boeing had been down as much as 1 percent earlier in the day, only to close mostly unchanged at $152.24.
A rally in oil prices petered out after four days of gains driven by OPEC’s deal to cut production next year. Benchmark U.S. crude closed down 86 cents to $50.93 in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, shed $1.01 to $53.93 a barrel in London. While oil prices were solidly lower, energy companies were trading mostly flat to only slightly lower.