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U.S. stock indexes gain, lifted by banks, retailers

Specialists John O'Hara, left, and David Haubner work

Specialists John O'Hara, left, and David Haubner work Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, at the New York Stock Exchange. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

U.S. stocks rose Thursday as banks resumed a steep upward climb and retailers move higher. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen emphasized that Fed policymakers plan to raise interest rates, which will help banks make more money from lending. Companies that make and sell food and household goods are lagging the market after Walmart and Smucker announced disappointing sales.

ON WALL STREET: As markets closed, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 35.7 points, about 0.2 percent, at 18,903.8. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index had gained 10.2 points, about 0.5 percent, to 2,187.1. The Nasdaq composite added 39.4 points, about 0.7 percent, to nearly 5,334.

OIL PRICES: As markets closed, benchmark U.S. crude was down 60 cents at $45.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, on the Intercontinental Exchange Europe, Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, was down 57 cents at $46.03 a barrel in London. That helped energy companies climb.

BOND PRICES: Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.28 percent from 2.22 percent. Bond yields rise when investors expect higher interest rates and inflation.

FED FOCUS: Yellen told Congress that the economy is improving and added that if the Fed keeps waiting now and raises rates too quickly later, that increases the risk of a recession.

Investors already expected the Fed to raise interest rates when it meets in mid-December, and they felt Yellen’s comments confirmed that higher rates are coming.


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