NEW YORK » Stocks are rising in afternoon trading today following market rallies overseas after the ruling party in Japan won a key election and Friday’s strong employment report in the U.S. The gains put the Standard and Poor’s 500 index on track for a record high close.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 gained 11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,141 at 9:20 a.m. Hawaii time. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 114 points, or 0.6 percent, to 18,261. The Nasdaq composite rose 43 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5,000.
NEW HIGH? The S&P 500 has had a rocky year as investors faced plunging oil prices, falling corporate earnings, fears over possible rising interest rates, slowing growth in China, and most recently, the British vote to leave the European Union. Still, the index has mostly been rising since February. Its last closing high was 2,130.82 on May 21, 2015, more than a year ago.
REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: Technology and banks rose sharply today, while stocks of utilities that investors have favored recently for their steady dividends fell. Boeing rose $2.12, or 1.7 percent, to $132.16 and JPMorgan Chase added 58 cents, or 1 percent, to $62.42.
JAPAN RISES: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 4 percent following a weekend election that landed the ruling coalition a resounding victory, ensuring stability and more stimulus spending for the world’s third-largest economy.
PROFIT PICTURE: Aluminum maker Alcoa will report its quarterly earnings after the closing bell. Alcoa is traditionally the first major U.S. company to report earnings. JPMorgan Chase will release its own results on Thursday.
Earnings per share for companies in the S&P 500 index are expected to fall 5.4 percent for the second quarter, the fourth straight quarterly drop, according to research firm S&P Global Market Intelligence. But some investors think the worst is over as oil prices stabilize, the jobs market strengthens and consumers start spending more.
THE QUOTE: “When consumers start to spend more, producers have to produce more, which means they have to hire more workers,” said John Manley, chief equity strategist for Wells Fargo Fund Management. “It’s a virtuous cycle.”
OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 gained 1.8 percent, while Germany’s DAX was up 2.1 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.5 percent.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 65 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $44.76 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a standard for international oil prices, lost 51 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $46.25 a barrel in London. In other energy trading in New York, wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.38 a gallon, heating oil was flat at $1.42 a gallon and natural gas dropped 10 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $2.70 percent.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.43 percent from 1.36 percent. The dollar rose to 102.81 yen from 100.46 yen. The euro rose to $1.1059 from $1.1049.
METALS: Gold fell $1.80 to $1,356.60 an ounce, silver rose 2 cents to $20.30 an ounce and copper rose 3 cents to $2.15 a pound.