Dow Jones Industrial Average climbs above 27,000 for first time
By Alex Veiga
AP Business Writer
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed above 27,000 for the first time Thursday after a turbulent day on Wall Street left the market within striking distance of more milestones.
The S&P 500 was hovering just below its all-time high in late-afternoon trading. The benchmark index briefly rose above 3,000 for the second day in a row before an early rally lost some of its momentum.
The market lost ground after an auction of long-term U.S. government bonds failed to drive up prices. That pulled bond prices lower, driving the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to 2.13% from 2.06% late Wednesday, a big move.
“The markets were higher at the beginning of the day based on (Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome) Powell’s testimony and him confirming what the futures markets have been telling us for a whole month: That we were going to get a rate cut,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab. “But then we had this Treasury auction, which apparently didn’t go so hot.”
The surge in bond yields marks a reversal from recent weeks, when many investors funneled money into bonds and other less-risky assets amid growing anxiety over the U.S. trade conflicts and signs of a slowing global economy.
The move had a swift effect on sectors on real estate stocks, utilities and other high-dividend stocks that lose their appeal when bond yields rise.
Banks led the market higher, benefiting from the surge in bond yields. When bond yields climb, they push up the interest rates that lenders charge for mortgages and other loans, making them more profitable. Bank of America rose 1.5% and Goldman Sachs gained 2.5%.
Technology stocks, retailers and industrial companies also helped lift the market.
The S&P 500 rose 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,995.35 as of 3:44 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow gained 186 points, or 0.7%, to 27,047. The Nasdaq composite slid 0.3%. Major stock indexes in Europe fell.
The market started the day riding a two-day winning streak. It had been trending higher as investors grew more confident that the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates for the first time in a decade as soon as the end of this month.
On Wednesday, Powell said that many Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for a rate cut. The remarks came as Powell gave testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.
New data showing consumer prices rose in June from a year earlier wasn’t expected to give the Fed reason to reconsider whether it should lower rates, if necessary. Inflation has remained muted through much of the economy’s 10 year expansion, which Powell has said cited as a justification for potentially lowering rates.
Real estate investment trusts, which tend to lose favor among income-seeking investors when bond yields become more attractive, took the heaviest losses. Prologis slid 2.7%.
Traders also weighed a mix of corporate earnings reports, Delta Air Lines and aviation maintenance company Air notched gains after their latest quarterly results topped Wall Street’s forecasts. Bed Bath & Beyond and Fastenal slumped on disappointing results.
Corporate earnings will keep investors busy starting next week, when S&P 500 companies begin reporting results for the April-June quarter.
Companies have been lowering expectations for how much profit they made in the quarter. Wall Street now projects that overall S&P 500 company earnings for the quarter fell 2.6% from a year earlier, according to FactSet. As recently as the end of March, earnings were forecast to be down only 0.5%.
This could be the first time in three years that S&P 500 companies report a back-to-back decline in overall earnings.
Drugstore chains rose after President Donald Trump withdrew a drug rebate plan that aimed to reduce the financial bite of costly medications for people on Medicare.
The once-highly promoted plan from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar ran into opposition within the White House. The pushback grew after the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the plan would have little impact on manufacturer prices and would cost Medicare $177 billion over 10 years because it would lead to higher premiums subsidized by taxpayers.
Cigna surged 8.9%, CVS Health gained 4.2%, UnitedHealth climbed 5% and Anthem rose 4.5%.
Fastenal slid 4% after the maker of industrial and construction fasteners’ latest quarterly results fell short of Wall Street’s expectations.
Air surged 8.2% after the airplane maintenance company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenue beat analysts’ expectations.
Bed Bath & Beyond slumped 5.1% after the home goods retailer reported revenue that fell short of forecasts.