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U.S. stocks stage late rally; Dow goes for another record

Traders, including Edward Curran, right, work on the

Traders, including Edward Curran, right, work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.  Photo Credit: AP / Richard Drew

A late burst of buying erased losses in U.S. indexes and left the Dow Jones industrial average with its 11th straight gain and another record close. The market had been down since opening Friday before turning higher in the last half-hour of trading.

High-dividend stocks such as utilities and phone companies rose the most. Investors tend to favor those stocks when bond yields are lower and they want less volatile investments.

ON WALL STREET: At the close, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 3.5 points, about 0.2 percent, to 2,367.3. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 11.4 points, about 0.1 percent, to 20,821.8. The Nasdaq composite rose 9.8 points, about 0.2 percent, to 5,845.3.

ON BONDS: Bond prices rose. At the close, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.317 percent, down from 2.328 around noon.

OIL PRICES: As markets closed, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 41 cents to $54.04 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London on the Intercontinental Exchange Europe, Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, fell 54 cents to $56.04 a barrel.

TRUMP BUMP FIZZLING? U.S. stocks have screamed to records since Election Day because investors are expecting Donald Trump’s White House to cut taxes for business, make regulations easier for them and goose more growth out of the economy. But investors around the world are questioning whether the rally is exhausting itself. The big jump for stocks has come at a time when some investors had already seen markets as overpriced. Plus, skeptics see cause for caution with a president who prides himself on unpredictability. That has some favoring bonds or stocks from other countries over the U.S. stock market.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “When we had the election, there was initially shock,” said analyst Darrell Riley, a vice president at T. Rowe Price who helps set the strategy for how $240 billion in target-date retirement and other mutual funds are invested. “Investors were really shocked, and then we went into this period of euphoria, and now we’re in a state of confusion.”

TRUMP TRADE WORRIES: President Donald Trump’s stance on trade has unnerved many in Asia, as he has repeatedly accused countries like China and Japan of unfair competition and currency manipulation that he says are hurting U.S. jobs.

ANALYST’S OPINION: “While shares have generally continued to push higher they remain at risk of a short term correction being technically overbought again, and with short term investor sentiment at levels often associated with corrections,” analyst Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a commentary.

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