U.S. stock indexes edge higher in light trading, led by banks
  • Wednesday, December 12, 2018
  • 75°

Business Breaking

U.S. stock indexes edge higher in light trading, led by banks

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    World stock markets were mixed on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, in quiet post-Christmas holiday trading. Strong economic data from Asia and the U.S. boosted investor confidence in some markets.

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U.S. stock indexes were up slightly in light trading late this afternoon, on course to extend modest gains as the market heads into the final trading day of 2017. Banks were among the big gainers. Energy companies also rose following a spike in natural gas prices. Consumer-goods makers lagged the most. Oil prices closed higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,684 as of 3:15 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,812. The Nasdaq added 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,942. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,546.

THE QUOTE: “It’s a light, light, light calendar,” said John Serrapere, director of research at Arrow Funds. “Normally between Christmas and New Year’s you get a positive, muted upslope in the markets.”

FINANCIALS CLIMB: Banks and other financial companies rose as bond yields rose. Northern Trust added $1.29, or 1.3 percent, to $99.97.

BINGE THIS: Netflix was among the big gainers in the S&P 500. The video-streaming service rose $7.34, or 4 percent, to $193.58.

FOOD & BEVERAGE: Several packaged food, beverage and other consumer-goods makers declined. Monster Beverage slid $1.24, or 1.9 percent, to $62.99.

ROUGH ROAD: Shares in JB Hunt Transportation Services declined after the trucking company issued a disappointing fourth-quarter profit forecast. JB Hunt expects to take about $40 million in one-time charges for the quarter. The stock fell 80 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $114.68.

LACKLUSTER QUARTER: Calumet Specialty Products Partners tumbled 10.7 percent after the oil and solvents processor reported disappointing third-quarter results. The stock gave up 95 cents to $7.90.

OIL & GAS: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 20 cents to settle at $59.84 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained 28 cents to $66.72 per barrel in London. Natural gas prices surged as temperatures dropped in the U.S. Natural gas rose 18 cents, or 6.7 percent, to $2.91 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The pickup in natural gas prices helped drive gains for some energy companies. Chesapeake Energy added 17 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $4.05, while Range Resources gained 66 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $17.61.

METALS: Gold rose $5.80 to $1,297.20 an ounce. Silver added 17 cents, or 1 percent, to $16.92 an ounce. Copper climbed 2 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $3.31 a pound.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.43 percent from 2.41 percent late Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 112.87 yen from 113.26 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1952 from $1.1899.

THE BITCOIN TRADE: The price of bitcoin fell 9.2 percent to $13,971 as of 3:14 p.m. ET, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange slid 7.8 percent to $13,780. South Korea’s government announced additional measures Thursday to curb speculative trading of virtual currencies in the country, including a ban on opening anonymous accounts.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major indexes in Europe closed lower. Germany’s DAX slipped 0.7 percent, while France’s CAC 40, lost 0.6 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose less than 0.1 percent, but the gain was enough for the index to close at a record high. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 erased earlier gains to finish 0.6 percent lower. South Korea’s Kospi surged 1.3 percent after government data showed strong gains in retail sales and industrial output last month. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.9 percent. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent.

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