Dow Reaches Records Again As Energy Companies Surge

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average is trading at a record high Wednesday as energy companies and banks surge. Oil stocks gained as countries in OPEC, which collectively produce more than one-third of the world's oil, moved closer to completing an agreement that would trim production. Banks are also rising sharply as bond yields and interest rates increase.

         Other U.S. indexes are little changed as big dividend-paying stocks like utility companies trade lower and technology and health care companies take losses.


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KEEPING SCORE: The Dow rose 65 points, or 0.3 percent, to 19,186 as of 10:45 a.m. Eastern time. Earlier it touched an all-time high of 19,225. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,207 and also set a record of 2,214 shortly after the start of trading. The Nasdaq composite lost 18 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,361.

OIL WATCH: The price of U.S. crude surged $3.28, or 7.3 percent, to $48.51 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained $3.63, or 7.7 percent, to $50.95 a barrel in London. At a meeting in Vienna, ministers from OPEC nations seemed to focus less on whether there would be a cut and more on how it would be shared among members. OPEC agreed to the preliminary terms of a deal in September, which sent oil prices sharply higher. But crude dropped almost 4 percent Tuesday as investors felt a deal was becoming less likely.

ENERGY COMPANIES: Higher oil prices mean more revenue for companies that extract or sell oil, and energy companies made big gains Wednesday morning. Exxon Mobil picked up $1.59, or 1.9 percent, to $87.49 and Chevron rose $2.38, or 2.2 percent, to $111.72. Marathon Oil climbed $2.37, or 15.9 percent, to $17.32.

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BANKS: Banks rose as members of President-elect Donald Trump's economic team discussed ways to make it easier for banks to lend more money, which could lead to larger profits for financial institutions. Steven Mnuchin, Trump's proposed nominee for Treasury secretary, said the administration wants to make changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law because it makes it harder for banks to lend. The law was passed to prevent another financial crisis, but critics say it went too far and stopped banks from making loans that people and businesses need to spend and hire.

         JPMorgan Chase added 95 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $79.87. Goldman Sachs rose $8.22, or 3.9 percent, to $219.97 and Fifth Third Bancorp gained 56 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $25.95.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 2.37 percent from 2.29 percent, its highest level since mid-2015. Bond yields are linked to higher interest rates.

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         High-dividend stocks slumped. Investors who want income tend to buy those stocks when bond yields are low and then sell them again when bond yields rise.

         Utilities, real estate investment trusts and phone companies took the largest losses on the market. Duke Energy lost $1.67, or 2.2 percent, to $74.70. Mall operator Simon Property Group gave up $1.54 to $180.76.

HEALTH SCARE: Losses for medical device companies pulled health care companies lower. Baxter International lost $1.20, or 2.7 percent, to $43.43 and Becton Dickinson slid $2.94, or 1.7 percent, to $169.79 while Medtronic fell 70 cents to $72.72.

TECH TRIPPED UP: Technology companies were in decline as well. Design software company Autodesk dropped $3.4, or 4.8 percent, to $71.62 after it gave a weak revenue outlook for the current quarter. Credit card companies fell, too. Visa dipped 93 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $78.22 and MasterCard skidded $1.20, or 1.2 percent, to $102.62.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose. It climbed to 113.71 yen from 112.33 yen. The euro fell to $1.0600 from $1.0647.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 was up 0.7 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain picked up 0.6 percent. Germany's DAX gained 0.2 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was flat and the Kospi of South Korea gained 0.3 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent.


         – by AP Reporter Marley Jay



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