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Stocks rise; S&P 500 on pace for longest streak in years

This Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, photo, shows the Nasdaq logo displayed in the electronic stock trading company's Times Square location in New York. U.S. stock indexes peeked higher in morning trading on Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, and if the Standard & Poor’s 500 maintains its slight gain, it would mark the longest winning streak for the index in four years. Trading was again mostly quiet around the world, and markets were closed at several of Asia’s big exchanges due to holidays. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
October 05, 2017 - 12:33 PM

NEW YORK - Stocks climbed again on Thursday, and the gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 put the index on track for its longest winning streak in four years. Financial stocks posted solid gains as investors hoped that banks' profits would rise along with interest rates.

Trading was again mostly quiet around the world, and markets were closed at several of Asia's big exchanges due to holidays.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 rose 13 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,551, as of 3:22 p.m. Eastern time. If the gain holds, it will be the eighth straight day where the index has climbed, which would be its longest such streak since 2013.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 100, or 0.4 per cent, to 22,763, and the Nasdaq composite added 50, or 0.8 per cent, to 6,585. All three indexes closed at records on Wednesday.

HIGHER YIELDS, HIGHER BANKS: Financial companies were particularly strong following a rise in interest rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.35 per cent from 2.32 per cent late Wednesday, and higher rates would allow banks to make bigger profits from making loans.

Financial stocks in the S&P 500 rose 1 per cent, about double the gain of the benchmark index.

POP THE CORK: Constellation Brands jumped to one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500 after it reported stronger earnings for the latest quarter, and it also raised its forecast for upcoming profit. The company has been focusing on the higher end of the beer, wine and spirits markets.

Its stock rose $8.05, or 4 per cent, to $209.23.

A COSTLIER CHILL: Netflix jumped after it raised the price on its most popular U.S. video streaming plan by 10 per cent. Netflix stock gained $6.84, or 3.7 per cent, to $191.29.

LOOKING AHEAD: "What's really troubling most people more than anything is that we just go straight up," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "There hasn't been a pullback. That's what most on Wall Street are trying to come to grips with."

NAVIGATING ROUGHER WATERS: Student-loan servicing company Navient fell after it said it was buying Earnest, a lender, for $155 million and would suspend its stock buyback program through 2018.

Navient fell $2.00, or 13.6 per cent, to $12.70 for the largest loss in the S&P 500.

ECONOMY WATCH: Fewer workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, which could be an indication that layoffs are slowing. Claims had jumped in earlier weeks after hurricanes struck Florida, Georgia and Texas.

The government will release its monthly update on jobs growth on Friday, and it's usually a big driver for markets. Many economists expect to see Friday's report show that hiring fell from a month earlier as a result of the hurricane damage.

Separate reports showed that orders at factories rebounded by a stronger margin than economists expected in August, and rising exports helped trim the nation's trade deficit to its lowest level in nearly a year.

QUIET DAY OVERSESAS: In Asia, holidays in Shanghai, Hong Kong and South Korea kept markets closed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index was virtually flat.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 ticked up by 0.3 per cent, Germany's DAX was close to flat and the FTSE 100 rose 0.5 per cent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.85 Japanese yen from 112.98 yen late Wednesday. The euro dipped to $1.1708 from $1.1764, and the British pound slipped to $1.3116 from $1.3250.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 81 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to settle at $50.79 per barrel. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, rose $1.20 to $57 per barrel. In other energy trading, heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.79 a gallon, wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.61 a gallon and natural gas fell 2 cents to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet.

METALS: The price of gold fell $3.60 to $1,273.20 an ounce, silver edged up 1 cent to $16.64 an ounce and copper jumped 9 cents to $3.05 a pound.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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