Belfast Telegraph

New Nasdaq record on mixed day for US stocks

Utilities, real estate and other big-dividend-paying companies led US stocks mostly higher Wednesday, pushing the Nasdaq composite to a new record for the second day in a row.

The gains by big-dividend-paying stocks came as bond yields fell, making those traditional safe-haven companies more attractive to investors seeking income.

Banks and other financial stocks were the market's biggest laggards.

While investors have been focused in recent weeks on companies reporting their quarterly results, they are also trying to size up whether the Trump administration will deliver on expectations of business-friendly policies that helped fuel the market rally last autumn.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.59 points, or 0.1%, to 2,294.67. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 35.95 points, or 0.2%, to 20,054.34.

The Nasdaq added 8.24 points, or 0.2%, to 5,682.45.

The index also closed at a record high on Tuesday and last Friday.

The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks fell 2.32 points, or 0.2%, to 1,358.74.

Bond prices rose. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.34% from 2.40% late Tuesday. That yield is a benchmark used to set interest rates on many kinds of loans including home mortgages.

The stock indexes headed lower as trading opened Wednesday and investors weighed the latest company earnings. The market recovered some of its losses by mid-morning after crude oil prices turned higher following an early slide.

Investors bid up shares in companies that posted better-than-expected quarterly results and outlooks.

Strong fiscal third-quarter earnings propelled Microchip Technology 6% higher, making it the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. The stock climbed 4.18 dollars to 73.80 dollars.

Myriad Genetics jumped 7.3% after the diagnostic test maker said sales of hereditary cancer tests have resumed rising, driving revenue to the highest level in three years. The stock gained 1.12 dollars to 16.52 dollars.

Panera Bread's latest results and forecast helped boost the bakery chain 18.63 dollars, or 8.7%, to 232.90 dollars.

Botox-maker Allergan also got a lift from its quarterly report card, adding 8.56 dollars, or 3.7%, to 241.17 dollars.

Several companies served up earnings and forecasts that fell short of Wall Street's expectations, sending their shares lower.

Akamai Technologies tumbled 10.6% after the cloud services company's latest guidance disappointed investors. The stock was the biggest decliner in the S&P 500, sliding 7.57 dollars to 63.55 dollars.

Gilead Sciences slumped 8.6% after the biotechnology company forecast disappointing sales of its hepatitis C drugs. The stock gave up 6.30 dollars to 66.83 dollars.

Zillow Group slid 7.6% after the online real estate information company posted quarterly results that included a tally of monthly unique users that fell short of Wall Street's expectations. The stock lost 2.83 dollars to 34.33 dollars.

More than half of the companies in the S&P 500 index have reported quarterly results so far, and roughly 60% have posted earnings that beat financial analysts' estimates.

Coca-Cola, Twitter and Viacom are among the big companies due to report results Thursday.