Belfast Telegraph

Record-setting stock streak hits sixth day on broad gains

US stocks rose for the sixth day in a row on Friday as major indexes continued to set records.

The biggest gains went to companies that have been mostly left out of the post-election rally, including healthcare companies and makers of household goods.

Stocks were solidly higher throughout the day and jumped an hour before the close of trading. Coca-Cola and Pfizer both gained 2.5%.

Investors have mostly avoided consumer goods makers and health companies in recent weeks. Instead they have bought banks and machinery companies, which could benefit more from a faster-growing economy.

"What we're seeing today is investors who are fearful they'll be left behind," said Kate Warne, investment strategist for Edward Jones. "So it may not be surprising that they're buying less aggressive stocks and sectors."

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 142.04 points, or 0.7%, to 19,756.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 13.34 points, or 0.6%, to 2,259.53. The Nasdaq composite gained 27.14 points, or 0.5%, to 5,444.50. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 1.71 points, or 0.1%, to 1,388.07.

The S&P 500's six-day winning streak is its longest in two and a half years.

Among household goods companies, PepsiCo gained 1.42 dollars, or 1.4%, to 103.57 dollars. Energy drink maker Monster Beverage also rose, as did pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens.

Coca-Cola climbed as investors reacted positively to the company's chief executive transition plans. Coke said Muhtar Kent will give up his chief executive title in May, and chief operating officer James Quincey, a 20-year veteran of the company, will become chief executive.

Drug companies bounced back from their recent losses. Those stocks, especially biotechnology companies, were hit hard this week after President-elect Donald Trump said he wants to reduce drug prices. Bristol-Myers Squibb gained 1.81 dollars, or 3.3%, to 57.04 dollars and Botox maker Allergan rose 3.78 dollars, or 2%, to 192.25 dollars.

Overall, healthcare companies are nearly flat since November 8.

Technology stocks rose for the sixth consecutive day and completed their best week in a year. They have slightly lagged the market since election day. Chipmaker Broadcom rose 8.38 dollars, or 4.9%, to 179.09 dollars after reporting earnings that were far above expectations. The company also doubled its quarterly dividend. Apple gained 1.83 dollars, or 1.6%, to 113.95 dollars. Google parent Alphabet reversed its post-election losses and picked up 14.28 dollars, or 1.8%, to 809.45 dollars.

US government bond prices slipped again. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note inched up to 2.47%, its highest in about 18 months, from 2.41% late Thursday. That yield is used to set interest rates on many kinds of loans including mortgages.

Next week the Federal Reserve will meet for the last time in 2016. Investors expect the central bank to raise its key interest rate, and Wall Street will look for clues about the Fed's plans for future interest rates.

"They're hoping that the Fed continues with the current message: that they'll be patient, that they're watching the economy, and that they see the risks as balanced," said Ms Warne.

Banks made small gains. The S&P 500 financial index has climbed 18.5% since November 9, twice as much as any other sector. The S&P 500 overall is up 3.1%. Banks are trading at their highest prices since early 2008.