Trad­ing quiet as Christ­mas nears

In­vestors turn at­ten­tion to stocks that pay large div­i­dends. Real es­tate, phone, util­i­ties get boost.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Mar­ley Jay

With the Christ­mas hol­i­day and the end of 2016 com­ing into view, U.S. stocks edged higher Mon­day as bond yields dropped and in­vestors who sought in­come moved money into phone com­pany and real es­tate stocks.

Tech­nol­ogy and in­dus­trial com­pa­nies rose, while en­ergy com­pa­nies skid­ded and health care stocks con­tin­ued to lag the rest of the mar­ket.

Dis­ney climbed af­ter a strong open­ing week­end for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” its sec­ond movie in the re­vived “Star Wars” fran­chise.

Trad­ing vol­ume was the lowest since mid-Oc­to­ber, ex­cept for the ab­bre­vi­ated trad­ing ses­sion af­ter the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day. Stocks were on track for larger gains early in the day and the Nasdaq was briefly on pace for a record high, but in­vestor en­thu­si­asm waned by the af­ter­noon.

David Le­fkowitz, se­nior eq­uity strate­gist at UBS Wealth Man­age­ment Amer­i­cas, said that stocks have surged since the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and in­vestors might be more cau­tious in the weeks to come as they wait for de­tails of Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump’s pol­icy agenda.

“We’re go­ing to have to move from the grand vi­sion of things to ac­tu­ally get­ting some of these poli­cies done,” he said.

Bond yields have surged to mul­ti­year highs in re­cent days, but they moved lower Mon­day. That helped com­pa­nies that pay large div­i­dends, be­cause they are of­ten com­pared to bonds and are more ap­peal­ing to in­vestors when yields fall.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age rose 39.65 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 19,883.06. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex gained 4.46 points, or 0.2 per­cent, to 2,262.53. The Nasdaq com­pos­ite added 20.28 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 5,457.44. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of small-com­pany stocks rose 7.49 points, or 0.5 per­cent, to 1,371.68.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10year Trea­sury note slid to 2.54 per­cent from 2.60 per­cent late Fri­day.

In­come-seek­ing in­vestors turned their at­ten­tion to groups of stocks that pay large div­i­dends, sim­i­lar to bonds. That sparked gains for real es­tate, phone and util­ity com­pa­nies. Health care fa­cil­ity in­vestor HCP gained $1.16, or 4 per­cent, to $30.30 and power com­pany NRG En­ergy rose 55 cents, or 4.5 per­cent, to $12.85.

Crude oil inched up 22 cents to $52.12 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, gave up 29 cents to $54.92 a bar­rel in Lon­don. En­ergy com­pa­nies took small losses.

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