Belfast Telegraph

Energy firms help stocks bounce back to record highs

US stocks have bounced back to record highs as investors put an end to a two-day drop for technology companies.

Energy and consumer-focused companies also made outsize gains.

In a reversal from the two previous days, investors put money into companies that stand to benefit from faster economic growth, including retailers, makers of basic materials like paints and chemicals, energy companies and banks.

Big-dividend companies, which are usually considered safer investments, did not do as well as the rest of the market.

Tech companies reversed their losses from Monday, although they remain well below their peak from last week.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 10.96 points, or 0.5%, to 2,440.35. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 92.80 points, or 0.4%, to 21,328.47.

The Nasdaq composite, which has a large concentration of technology companies, rose 44.90 points, or 0.7%, to 6,220.37, but did not get back to its record highs. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 6.77 points, or 0.5%, to 1,425.98.

Technology companies led the way once again. Facebook rose 2.24 dollars, or 1.5%, to 150.68 dollars while Microsoft gained 87 cents, or 1.2%, to 70.65 dollars. Hard drive maker Western Digital added 3.41 dollars, or 3.9%, to 90.05 dollars.

Even after their recent skid, technology companies have done much better than the rest of the market in 2017. Big tech companies like Apple and Alphabet have been responsible for a huge portion of the stock market's gains this year.

Amazon helped retailers trade higher. The online giant picked up 15.88 dollars, or 1.6%, to 980.79 dollars.

Energy companies joined the gains as the price of oil reversed an early loss. US crude futures added 38 cents to settle at 46.46 dollars a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 43 cents to 48.72 dollars a barrel in London.

Among energy stocks, Halliburton climbed 92 cents, or 2%, to 45.84 and oil refiner Tesoro rose 3.03 dollars, or 3.3%, to 94.22 dollars.

The Federal Reserve began a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday. On Wednesday, investors expect the central bank to raise interest rates for the third time since December.

The dollar rose to 109.96 yen from 109.79 yen. The euro inched up to 1.1212 dollars from 1.1208 dollars.

Germany's DAX gained 0.6% and the CAC 40 in France advanced 0.4%. In Britain the FTSE 100 index lost 0.2%. Asian markets finished mostly higher. In South Korea the Kospi rose 0.7% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong advanced 0.6%. Japan's Nikkei 225 dipped 0.1%.