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U.S. stocks set records, again; Dow nears 20,000

A Wall Street street sign outside the New

A Wall Street street sign outside the New York Stock Exchange on July 16, 2013. Credit: AP / Mark Lennihan

Major U.S. stock indexes set records again Tuesday as energy companies continued to climb after international deals that will cut oil production. Big-name technology companies like Apple and IBM also traded higher as the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 19,900 for the first time.

The Dow finished at an all-time high for the seventh consecutive trading day. The biggest gain went to IBM, while Apple and Exxon Mobil also finished near the top.

ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 114.8 points, about 0.6 percent, to 19,911.2. The blue-chip index went as high as 19,953. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 14.76 points, about 0.7 percent, to 2,271.7. The Nasdaq composite climbed 51.3 points, about 0.9 percent, to 5,463.8.

OIL PRICES: As markets closed, benchmark U.S. crude was down 31 cents to $53.42 a barrel in trading on New York Mercantile Exchange. In London on the Intercontinental Exchange Europe, Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 45 cents to $55.24 a barrel. On Monday oil reached its highest price in a year and a half after a group of oil-producing nations said they would cut production, backing up a recent deal by the nations in OPEC.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices held steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained 2.481, its highest level since June 2015.

ANALYST’S OPINION: Analyst J.J. Kinahan, TD Ameritrade’s chief strategist, said stocks have surged since the presidential election because after a long campaign, investors have a better idea which policies the country will adopt. “The biggest questions hanging over us are gone,” Kinahan said. He added that investors in technology companies may be looking forward to tax changes that will encourage them to bring more cash back to the U.S. and invest it in their businesses or return it to shareholders.

FED WATCH: Investors expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates when the Open Market Committee meeting ends Wednesday. The central bank policymakers last raised interest rates a year ago. Rates have been ultralow since the 2008 financial crisis, but its leaders have suggested the U.S. economy is improving enough to start gradually raising rates. Low interest rates have helped drive stock prices higher but they also punish savers who look for income from bank accounts and bonds.

WATCHABLES: Goldman Sachs Group closed up $1.38 at $238.55. Exxon Mobil Corp. closed up $1.60 at $92.58.

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