Industrials companies drive US stock indexes mostly higher

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US stocks have closed mostly higher after a late-afternoon wave of selling erased much of a midday rally.

Gains in industrial companies and other sectors outweighed losses in banks and health care stocks.

Energy companies also rose after crude oil prices recovered from an early slide.

Bond yields declined after spiking to four-year highs a day earlier amid rekindled fears of higher inflation and interest rates.

“The yields easing back a little bit is probably reassuring people on a very short-term kind of basis,” said Erik Wytenus, global investment specialist at JP Morgan Private Bank.

“That big, nasty intra-day reversal yesterday was probably a little bit excessive.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.63 points, or 0.1%, to 2703.96.

The 30-company average was up briefly by more than 350 points.

The Dow and the S&P 500 snapped a two-day losing streak.

The Nasdaq had been up much of the day, but closed lower. It fell 8.14 points, or 0.1%, to 7210.09.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 1.85 points, or 0.1%, to 1529.99.

The stock indexes are on track to close lower for the week.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.92% from a day earlier, when it climbed to 2.95%, the highest level since January 2014.

Wednesday’s spike in bond yields came after the Federal Reserve’s minutes from its January policy meeting showed bullish sentiment among policymakers, confirming their intention to raise interest rates this year.

Higher yields generally hurt stock prices by making bonds more appealing to investors.

They also make it more expensive for people and companies to borrow money.

Earlier this month, global stock markets, particularly those in the US, suffered big losses amid mounting concerns over the pace of inflation and Fed policy tightening.

“Volatility is back, and I actually would argue that it’s a healthier state of affairs,” Mr Wytenus said. “The constant melt-up that we saw in 2017 is actually quite historically abnormal.”

Shares in industrials companies posted solid gains. United Technologies rose after its chief executive said management is looking into the possibility of splitting up the industrial conglomerate into three separate businesses.

The stock rose 4.32 US dollars, or 3.3%, to 133.58 dollars.

Caterpillar also notched gains, climbing 3.63 dollars, or 2.3%, to 158.86 dollars.

Investors bid up shares in several companies that reported encouraging quarterly results or outlooks.

Chesapeake Energy was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, vaulting 57 cents, or 21.7%, to 3.20 dollars. The company led an energy sector rally.

Benchmark US crude recovered from an early slide, adding 1.09 dollars, or 1.8%, to settle at 62.77 dollars a barrel in New York.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 97 cents, or 1.5%, to close at 66.39 dollars per barrel in London.

Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly lower.

Germany’s Dax fell 0.1%, while the CAC 40 in France gained 0.1%.

The FTSE 100 index declined 0.4% after figures showed the British economy did not grow as strongly as initially thought during 2017.

In Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slumped 1.1% and South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.5%.


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