Dow cruises ever closer to 20,000

Travel com­pa­nies and banks boost the market, and some in­vestors say stocks won’t move much in ’17.

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Mar­ley Jay

Big gains for banks and com­pa­nies that are fo­cused on travel helped pro­pel U.S. stock in­dexes to record lev­els Tues­day. The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age moved closer than ever to 20,000, but the sym­bolic thresh­old re­mained just out of reach.

Banks once again led the way as bond yields and in­ter­est rates bounced higher. Strong earn­ings from cruise line op­er­a­tor Car­ni­val and gains for travel web­site TripAd­vi­sor led con­sumer com­pa­nies higher. House­hold goods mak­ers fell af­ter Chee­rios maker Gen­eral Mills cut its sales pro­jec­tions for the year, and en­ergy com­pa­nies fell for the sec­ond day in a row. That hadn’t hap­pened in three weeks. The Dow came within 13 points of the 20,000 mark around 10 a.m. and closed about 25 points un­der the thresh­old. Trad­ing re­mained light as the Christmas hol­i­day ap­proached.

Stocks have soared since the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and the Dow has risen al­most 1,000 points in less than a month, and some in­vestors think that means stocks won’t move much in 2017.

“We’re at fair value,” said Scott Wren, a se­nior global eq­uity strate­gist at the Wells Fargo In­vest­ment In­sti­tute. “This is not go­ing to be a big re­turn year for the stock market.”

The Dow gained 91.56 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to a record close at 19,974.62. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex picked up 8.23 points, or 0.4 per­cent, to 2,270.76. The Nasdaq com­pos­ite also fin­ished at a record as it added 26.50 points, or 0.5 per­cent, to 5,483.94. The Rus­sell 2000 in­dex of small­com­pany stocks jumped 12.27 points, or 0.9 per­cent, to 1,383.96.

Bond prices re­versed course and fell af­ter climb­ing higher Mon­day. The yield on the 10-year Trea­sury note rose to 2.56 per­cent from 2.54 per­cent. Bond yields have risen sharply of late, and that’s good for banks be­cause higher bond yields are linked to higher in­ter­est rates, which let them make more money from lend­ing.

Cruise line op­er­a­tor Car­ni­val re­ported profit and sales that were stronger than ex­pected. The com­pany said book­ings for trips in 2017 are stronger than they were at this time last year.

Other con­sumer com­pa­nies also gained ground. Used-car deal­er­ship Carmax jumped $3.80, or 6.1 per­cent, to $66.16 af­ter a strong earn­ings re­port.

Bench­mark U.S. crude gained 11 cents to $52.23 per bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, the in­ter­na­tional stan­dard, jumped 43 cents to $55.35 a bar­rel in Lon­don.

The dol­lar climbed to 118.04 yen from 117.24 yen.

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