Market Snapshot: Dow fights for direction as traders weigh North Korea’s latest posturing

U.S. stocks rose Wednesday, with major indexes advancing in a broad rally as investors appeared to shake off fears of rising bond yields, helping equities resume a recent uptrend.

In a notable milestone for the day, an index of small-capitalization stocks jumped to a new record, extending a recent stretch of outperformance by small companies relative to their larger peers.

What did the main benchmarks do?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.34% rose 62.52 points, or 0.3%, to 24,768.93. The blue-chip average has risen in nine of the past 10 sessions.

The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.17% was up 11.01 points, or 0.4%, to 2,722.46. The day’s gains were broad, with nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ending higher. Materials were the top performers of the day, closing 1.2% higher, while consumer staples and consumer discretionary stocks both rose 0.8%. The two declining sectors — utilities and real estate — are seen as ones that underperform in periods of rising bond yields, as their higher-than-average dividend yields become less attractive to income-seeking investors.

The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.23% advanced 46.67 points, or 0.6%, to 7,398.30.

The small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 index RUT, +0.57%  hit an all-time high of 1,620.64. The index also closed at a record, ending at 1,616.37, a gain of 16.03 points, or 1%.

What drove markets?

The day’s gains came despite the continuation of a few headwinds that have recently pressured trading, including in Tuesday’s session, where equities fell broadly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.27% rose to a seven-year high of 3.093%. The day’s action extended its move above 3%, which has been cited as a psychologically significant level that could make equities appear less attractive.

In addition, there was some political uncertainty surrounding North Korea, after Pyongyang overnight signaled

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