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Banks lead modest rally; Nasdaq closes with record

The facade of the New York Stock Exchange

The facade of the New York Stock Exchange is seen on Feb. 16, 2017. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Bryan R. Smith

Banks led U.S. stocks indexes modestly higher Thursday, rising along with bond yields, which can result in higher interest rates on loans and bigger profits for banks from lending money. The Nasdaq composite closed with another record high.

ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 6.9 points, about 0.3 percent, at 2,368.1. The Dow Jones industrial average had gained 69.2 points, about 0.3 percent, to 20,728.5. The Nasdaq composite added 16.8 points, about 0.3 percent, to 5,914.3

Bond prices fell. At the close, bond prices were down, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.42 percent.

OIL PRICES: As markets close, benchmark U.S. crude oil was up 74 cents at $50.25 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London on the Intercontinental Exchange Europe, Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 55 cents to $52.97 a barrel.

MAKING MOVES: Bank of America jumped 2.2 percent. Energy companies also gained along with the price of crude oil. Exxon Mobil rose 2 percent. Small-company stocks rose far more than the rest of the market.

ECONOMIC SNAPSHOT: The Commerce Department raised its estimate for economic growth in the fourth quarter to 2.1 percent from 1.9 percent, noting that consumer spending increased more than expected. The Labor Department said applications for unemployment benefits dipped slightly last week.


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