Dow nears 20,000 as energy, tech stocks climb

Marley Jay
Associated Press

Major U.S. stock indexes set records again Tuesday as energy companies continued to climb following international deals that will cut oil production. Big-name technology companies like Apple and IBM also traded higher as the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 19,900 for the first time.

The Dow finished at an all-time high for the seventh consecutive trading day. The biggest gain went to IBM, while Apple and Exxon Mobil also finished near the top.

Energy companies rose for the ninth day out of the last 10 as investors anticipated steadier oil prices and larger profits. Technology companies also jumped. They had mostly lagged the market during its post-election rally, but have moved higher in the last few days.

J.J. Kinahan, TD Ameritrade’s chief strategist, said stocks have surged since the presidential election because after a long campaign, investors have a better idea which policies the country will adopt.

“The biggest questions hanging over us are gone,” he said.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 114.78 points, or 0.6 percent, to 19,911.21. The blue-chip index went as high as 19,953. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 14.76 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,271.72. The Nasdaq composite climbed 51.29 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,463.83.

Energy companies rose for the fifth consecutive day. Exxon Mobil climbed $1.60, or 1.8 percent, to $92.58 and Noble Energy advanced $1.80, or 4.5 percent, to $41.64.

OPEC countries agreed on Nov. 30 to trim oil production next year, and over the weekend a group of 11 other nations also agreed to make cuts. Those reductions are intended to prop up the price of oil following a two-year slump. U.S. crude is up 17 percent since the OPEC deal was announced, which has taken it to its highest price in almost a year and a half, and the S&P 500 energy index is up 10 percent.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 15 cents to $52.98 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 3 cents to $55.72 a barrel in London.

Technology companies jumped as a group of tech executives, including the CEOs of Apple and Microsoft, prepare to meet with President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday. Kinahan said investors in technology companies may be looking forward to tax changes that will encourage them to bring more cash back to the U.S. and invest it in their businesses or return it to shareholders.

On Tuesday Apple added $1.89, or 1.7 percent, to $115.19. IBM was the biggest gainer on the Dow, as it picked up $2.79, or 1.7 percent, to $168.29.

Consumer-focused companies rose more than the rest of the market. Online retailer Amazon rose $14.22, or 1.9 percent, to $774.34 and home improvement retailer Home Depot jumped $1.96, or 1.5 percent, to $136.54. Newell Brands, which owns brands including Rubbermaid, Elmer’s and Mr. Coffee, picked up 82 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $47.30.

Some companies that have performed very well over the last five weeks lost ground. Basic materials and industrial companies traded slightly lower. Banks, which have soared since the election, rose less than the rest of the market.

Larger companies did much better than smaller ones. The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks, which has soared since the election, was essentially flat.

Investors expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates when it ends a policy meeting Wednesday. The central bank last raised interest rates a year ago. It’s kept rates very low since the 2008 financial crisis, but its leaders have suggested the U.S. economy is improving enough that it is time to start gradually raising rates. Low interest rates have helped drive stock prices higher, but they punish savers who look for income from bank accounts and bonds.

U.S. government bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dipped to 2.47 percent from 2.48 percent, its highest level since June 2015. The dollar rose to 115.23 yen from 115.12 yen. The euro fell to $1.0622 from $1.0630.

Gold fell $6.80 to $1,159 an ounce. Silver lost 21 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $16.98 an ounce. Copper fell 2 cents to $2.60 a pound.