Banks and energy companies give U.S. stock indexes a boost


U.S. stocks are rising Monday as banks and energy companies climb higher. All major groups of stocks are up as the market comes back from a down week. U.S. stock markets will close early Monday for the Independence Day holiday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 12 points, or 0.5%, to 2,435 as of 7:25 a.m. Pacific time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 141 points, or 0.7%, to 21,491. The Nasdaq composite edged up 4 points, or 0.1%, to 6,144 as technology companies were little changed. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 8 points, or 0.6%, to 1,423.

Banks continued their recent winning ways as bond yields and interest rates increased further. Higher interest rates let banks make more money from lending, and that helped financial companies rally last week. Major banks also raised their dividends and said they would buy back more stock. Wells Fargo added 45 cents to $55.86, and Citigroup rose $1.19, or 1.8%, to $68.08. Morgan Stanley climbed 91 cents, or 2%, to $45.47.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.33% from 2.3%. Companies that pay large dividends, like household goods makers and utility and phone companies, lagged the rest of the market although they still traded higher.

Consumer financial services company Bankrate climbed $1.08, or 8.4%, to $13.93 after it agreed to be acquired by Red Ventures for $14 a share, or $1.25 billion.

Car companies are reporting their June U.S. sales Monday, and although overall sales are expected to decline for the sixth month in a row, the early results were better than investors had anticipated. Ford and GM said their sales each fell about 5%, but Ford gained 41 cents, or 3.6%, to $11.60, and GM rose 88 cents, or 2.5%, to $35.81. Fiat Chrysler advanced 47 cents, or 4.4%, to $11.10.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company’s Model 3 car will go on sale on Friday. Its shares rose $7.93, or 2.2%, to $369.54.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 48 cents, or 1%, to $46.52 Monday, on pace for its eighth gain in a row. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 45 cents to $49.22 in London. Before their recent winning streak, crude prices had reached their lowest levels of the year. Exxon Mobil rose $1.05, or 1.3%, to $81.78 and ConocoPhillips added $1.31, or 3%, to $45.27.

Activist investment firm Jana Partners disclosed a 5.8% stake in EQT and said it opposes the energy company’s plan to buy Rice Energy. The firm said it wants EQT to split off its exploration and production business instead. EQT agreed to buy Rice Energy for $6.7 billion in cash and stock last month. The deal would make EQT the largest U.S. producer of natural gas. EQT shares added 72 cents, or 1.2%, to $59.31 while Rice Energy tumbled $1.38, or 5.2%, to $25.25.

Precious metals prices dropped. Gold fell $15.60, or 1.3%, to $1,266.70 an ounce while silver lost 37 cents, or 2.2%, to $16.26 an ounce. Newmont Mining fell 85 cents, or 2.6%, to $31.54.

The dollar jumped to 113.21 yen from 112.54 yen on Friday. The euro fell to $1.1370 from $1.1422.

France’s CAC-40 gained 1.3% and the German DAX added 1.1%. London’s FTSE 100 advanced 0.6%. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 added 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was unchanged and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.1%.



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