Major U.S. stock indexes reached more all-time highs Thursday as the market built on a surge the previous day. Banks and basic materials companies made the biggest gains, and technology companies also climbed.
ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 65.2 points, about 0.3 percent, at 19614.8. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 4.8 points, about 0.2 percent, to close at 2,246.2. The Nasdaq composite rose 23.6 points, about 0.4 percent, to 5,417.4.
OIL PRICES: As markets closed, benchmark U.S. crude oil gained $1.08 to $50.85 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London on the Intercontinental Exchange Europe, Brent crude, the international standard, was up $1.02 at $54.02 a barrel.
BOND BOOST: U.S. government bond prices fell, sending yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.40 percent from 2.34 percent. That drove banks stocks up since higher interest rates will allow banks to charge more for lending money. The Goldman Sachs Group, which has surged 32 percent since the presidential election and is trading at a nine-year high, rose $5.89, about 2.5 percent, to close at $241.45, and Bank of America picked up 38 cents, about 1.7 percent, to $22.95.
EURO STIMULUS: The European Central Bank will extend its economic stimulus program to support growth. It will spend almost $600 billion on bond purchases and extended the bond-buying program through the end of 2017. It was scheduled to conclude at the end of March. However the ECB surprised investors by saying it will reduce the size of the monthly purchases after March. It said that is not a sign it is getting ready to phase out the stimulus.