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U.S. Stocks Rise, Treasuries Slide as Oil Rebounds: Markets Wrap

Updated on
  • Yellen’s gradualist tone lifts stocks to gold, oil steadies
  • Ride risk rally before central bank words turn deed: Investec

Janet Yellen's House Testimony in Two Minutes

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U.S. stocks rose, sending benchmark indexes toward all-time highs, while Treasuries fell as Janet Yellen signaled continued stimulus as the American economy sustains a steady pace of growth.

The S&P 500 Index closed within five points of its record, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a fresh high as the central bank chair reiterated her intention to tighten only gradually. Financial shares led gains with three large banks slated to deliver earnings Friday. Treasuries gave up Wednesday’s gains as Yellen offered a note of caution on the economy’s growth rate, while the dollar was mixed against its major peers.  

“It’s something that would be wonderful if you can accomplish it -- I’d love to see it,” Yellen said of 3 percent growth rates in response to a question during her Senate hearing. “It would be quite challenging.”

Yellen’s signal that the economy is not in danger of overheating, with inflation rates stubbornly below Fed targets, comes as the central bank seems likely to err on the side of not tightening too quickly. Investors will get clues on how choppy data during the second quarter translated into corporate earnings when JPMorgan Chase & Co., Well Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. report Friday.

Investors also digested fresh news out of Washington, where Senate Republicans unveiled a new health-care bill they hope to bring up for a vote next week. The move comes as the Trump administration attempts to move past the latest diversion from its policy agenda.

Read our Markets Live blog here.

Here’s what investors are watching:

  • U.S. CPI reading is due Friday.
  • The three American lenders report before the opening bell Friday.

These are the main moves in markets: 

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to 2,447.93 at 4 p.m. in New York, 0.2 percent below its closing record of 2,453.46. 
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average added to its all-time high, rising 0.1 percent to 21,553.50, while the Nasdaq 100 Index rose 0.2 percent for a fifth straight gain.
  • Small caps lagged behind, with the Russell 2000 Index little changed.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.3 percent, building on Wednesday’s 1.5 percent gain.
  • The MSCI ACWI Index, which includes emerging and developed world markets, rose 0.3 percent to a record high.

Rates

  • The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield gained three basis points to 2.34 percent.
  • German benchmark bund yields rose a similar amount to 0.59 percent.

Currencies

  • The greenback fell against most of its major peers, with the dollar index touching the lowest since Sept. 22 before trading little changed.
  • The Canadian dollar added 0.2 percent to $1.27243.
  • The pound climbed 0.5 percent to $1.2946. The euro was little changed at $1.1406.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose for a fourth day, adding 1.3 percent to settle at $46.08 a barrel. Brent added 68 cents to end at $48.42. The WTI settlement was the highest since July 3 and came on a forecast that global demand growth will accelerate this year, even as supplies drain more slowly than anticipated.
  • Gold futures slipped 0.2 percent to $1,217.10 an ounce, after gaining three days on expectations rates will stay low.
  • Spring wheat for September delivery fell as much as 1.6 percent to $7.7025 a bushel before recouping losses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said domestic production will be greater than analysts expected.

— With assistance by Jessica Summers, and Edward Bolingbroke

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