BY MARLEY JAY
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are on the verge of more records Tuesday as most industries, including technology and health care companies, post solid gains. Solid quarterly reports are boosting companies including medical device maker Medtronic and construction services company Jacobs Engineering, while Signet Jewelers is tumbling.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 16 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,598 as of 3:40 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 153 points, or 0.7 percent, to 23,584. The Nasdaq composite added 65 points, or 1 percent, to 6,856. All three indexes are on track to break the records they set earlier this month. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose for a fourth day and picked up 12 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,515. That’s above its record close from early October.
FOLLOW THE LEADERS: Big-name technology companies lead the way. Apple rose $2.88, or 1.7 percent, to $172.86 and Microsoft advanced $1.23, or 1.5 percent, to $83.77 while Facebook added $2.67, or 1.5 percent, to $181.41. Health care companies climbed as well. Those two sectors are the best-performing parts of the market this year. Basic materials companies, which have done better than the rest of the S&P 500, also rose.
High-dividend stocks like utilities lagged the market and telecommunications companies took small losses. They are considered safer, more stable investments that do better when investors expect market turbulence.
WHAT’S NEXT: The tech giants have made huge gains this year, and JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, said that’s not about to stop.
“They’re seeing better earnings, better sales, better growth,” he said. “It’s difficult to argue with that.”
Investors were cheered Tuesday by a report from Goldman Sachs analyst David Kostin, who forecast that the S&P 500 will rise about 14 percent in 2018 if Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump are successful in cutting corporate taxes. Kostin said continued economic growth and lower taxes should help the S&P 500 rise to 3,100 by the end of 2020.
HEART BEAT: Medical device company Medtronic jumped after it posted profit that was larger than analysts had expected. The company said sales of heart devices including newer devices like its CoreValve Evolut Pro heart valve, drove its sales higher in the fiscal second quarter. The stock rose $3.89, or 4.9 percent, to $82.80.
HIGH RISE: Homebuilders climbed after the National Association of Realtors said sales of homes grew in October. They’re down slightly from last year because there are so few houses on the market, but the tight supply and rising prices has sent homebuilder stocks soaring this year. On Tuesday, NVR advanced $45.89, or 1.4 percent, to $3,363.20, while D.R. Horton gained $1.03, or 2.1 percent, to $49.23 and Lennar rose $1.24, or 2.1 percent, to $60.36.
TARNISHED: Signet Jewelers plunged $22.50, or 29.7 percent, to $53.33 after the company slashed its annual forecast. The company recently sold its highest-quality loans to Alliance Data Systems, but the company said “disruptions” related to that move have affected sales, especially for its Kay brand.
Alliance Data Systems fell 88 cents to $223.79. Aaron’s, which is running a lease-payment program for other Signet customers, fell 60 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $36.14.
BUILDING UP: Construction and technical services company Jacobs Engineering had a stronger fourth quarter than analysts expected. Its shares added $5.05, or 8.5 percent, to $64.39.
THEY DO LIKE SPAM: Food maker Hormel climbed after its quarterly profit and sales came out ahead of Wall Street projections. So did the company’s forecasts for the rest of the year. The stock climbed $1.01, or 3 percent, to $34.41.
NUTS TO SOUP: Campbell Soup’s profit and sales both fell a bit short of analysts’ forecasts. The company reported a 9 percent drop in soup revenue and said carrot costs increased. It also faced greater logistics costs in the aftermath of the hurricanes. The stock shed $4.13, or 8.3 percent, to $45.80.
BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.36 percent from 2.37 percent.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 41 cents to $56.84 a barrel in New York, while Brent crude, the international standard, added 35 cents to $62.57 a barrel in London.
Wholesale gasoline climbed 3 cents to $1.77 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $1.94 a gallon. Natural gas slipped 3 cents to $3.02 per 1,000 cubic feet.
METALS: Gold rose $6.40 to $1,281.70 an ounce. Silver added 12 cents to $16.96 an ounce. Both metals had taken sharp losses Monday. Copper rose 4 cents to $3.13 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.44 yen from 112.67 yen. The euro rose to $1.1742 from $1.1732.
OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX gained 0.8 percent and the CAC 40 of France CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent. The FTSE 100 index in Britain rose 0.3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent while the Kospi in South Korea added 0.1 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 1.9 percent, its biggest gain in two months.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jayt
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