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Technology stocks dip but Wall Street sees new high for Dow Jones

Published 02/12/2016

It was another record-breaking day for Wall Street
It was another record-breaking day for Wall Street

Technology companies plunged during Thursday's Wall Street trading, and high-dividend stocks also took hefty losses as bond yields rose to their highest level in more than a year.

But more big gains for blue-chip banking and oil stocks pulled the Dow Jones industrial average to a record high.

Big names like Facebook and Oracle fell as technology companies took their biggest losses in two months. Rising bond yields pushed income-seeking investors away from real estate and utility companies. Health care stocks also slumped.

Banks continued to soar as investors expect them to make bigger profits on loans as interest rates rise. Oil prices climbed for the second day after the countries of Opec agreed to trim oil production next year.

Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist for Voya Investment Strategies, said a focus on President-elect Donald Trump's trade policies might be hurting tech stocks.

On Thursday Mr Trump toured a Carrier factory in Indiana after announcing the company will keep some operations at the facility instead of moving them to Mexico.

"If you're going to bring jobs back to America and make stuff here, tech is going to be pretty vulnerable," she said. "If there's going to be a trade war, tech is pretty vulnerable."

The Dow gained 68.35 points, or 0.4%, to 19,191.93, its highest close on record. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 7.73 points, or 0.4%, to 2,191.08. The Nasdaq composite fell 72.57 points, or 1.4%, to 5,251.11.

Stock indexes set records after the presidential election last month, but lately they have wobbled as different industries were pulled in opposite directions. Banks and industrial and materials companies are rising while tech stocks have weakened.

Bond prices continued to tumble, sending benchmark yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.44% from 2.38%, its highest since July 2015. That sent bank stocks higher because higher bond yields are linked to higher interest rates, which allow banks to make more money from lending.

Goldman Sachs jumped 7.34 dollars, or 3.3%, to 226.63 dollars and JPMorgan Chase picked up 1.62 dollars, or 2%, to 81.79 dollars. Goldman is trading at its highest price since December 2007.

Facebook skidded 3.32 dollars, or 2.8%, to 115.10 dollars and chip maker Analog Devices dropped 5.23 dollars, or 7%, to 69.01 dollars. Microsoft lost 1.06 dollars, or 1.8%, to 59.20 dollars.

After a big gain on Wednesday, the dollar slipped to 114.03 yen from 114.22 yen. The euro rose to 1.0649 from 1.0599 dollars. In the last few weeks the dollar has reached a 13-year high compared to other currencies. A strong dollar hurts profits and sales for companies that do a lot of business overseas, and the technology companies on the S&P 500 get almost 60% of their revenue outside the US.

Oil prices rallied again and reached their highest level since mid-October. Benchmark U.S. crude picked up 1.62 dollars, or 3.3%, to close at 51.06 dollars a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, added 2.10 dollars, or 4.1%, to 53.94 dollars a barrel in London. Chevron gained 1.73 dollars, or 1.6%, to 113.29 dollars and Phillips 66 rose 1.90 dollars, or 2.3%, to 84.98 dollars.

The price of oil soared 9% on Wednesday after the members of Opec which collectively produce more than one-third of the world's oil, agreed to a small cut in production starting in January. The price of oil has mostly traded between 40 and 50 dollars a barrel since early April. It dipped as low as 26 dollars a barrel in February.

A big post-election rally has faded in the last few days, but Ms Cavanaugh said she thinks major indexes will move higher. She noted that corporate earnings grew in the third quarter for the first time in more than a year, and US manufacturing has been recovering.

"We've been so starved for anything that could even resemble growth," she said. "If the US is doing better, then that's going to help the whole entire global economy do better."

Car sales climbed in November and broke out of a recent slump. US car sales broke records last year and there have been some signs recently that demand is waning, but on Thursday, a Toyota executive said he thought sales could set a new record in 2016.

GM and Ford climbed after they reported stronger sales growth than analysts expected. Ford gained 47 cents, or 3.9%, to 12.43 dollars and General Motors rose 1.90 dollars, or 5.5%, to 36.43 dollars.

Parker-Hannifin, which makes motion and control products, said it will pay about four billion US dollars to buy Clarcor, a company that makes mobile, industrial and environmental filtration products. The deal values Clarcor at 83 dollars per share and its stock jumped 12.13 dollars, or 17.2%, to 82.58 dollars while Parker-Hannifin rose 4.54 dollars, or 3.3%, to 143.47 dollars.

In other energy trading, wholesale petrol rose six cents to 1.55 dollars a gallon. Heating oil added seven cents to 1.65 dollars. Natural gas gained 15 cents to 3.51 dollars per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell 4.50 dollars to 1,169.30 dollars an ounce. Silver rose two cents to 16.51 dollars an ounce. Copper picked up one cent to 2.64 dollars a pound.

European stock indexes fell. Germany's Dax lost 1% and in Britain, the FTSE 100 fell 0.5%. The CAC 40 in France shed 0.4%. Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.1% and the Kospi of South Korea was little changed. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong gained 0.4%.

AP

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