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Business

Big Dividend Payers and Tech Companies Lead Indexes Higher

Disney climbed after "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" brought in an estimated $155 million in worldwide ticket sales in its first weekend

The American flag flies above the Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange, photo: AP/Richard Drew
12 months ago

U.S. stocks are edging higher Monday as technology and industrial companies rise. Disney stock is climbing after a strong opening weekend for “Rogue One: A Star Wars story.” However energy companies, which have rallied over the last six weeks, are trading lower and health care companies continue to lag the market.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,881 as of 3:05 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,261. The Nasdaq composite added 20 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,457. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks rose 6 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,370.

LEADERS: Some of the largest gains went to companies that stand to benefit from faster economic growth. Microsoft added $1.40, or 2.2 percent, to $63.70 and software maker Adobe advanced $2, or 1.9 percent, to $105.55. Industrial companies also did better than the broader market. Both tech and industrial stocks are trading around all-time highs. Boeing added $1.51, or 1 percent, to $156.01. United Technologies, which makes elevators, jet engines and other products, picked up $1.95, or 1.8 percent, to $110.47.

ENERGY: Crude oil inched up 22 cents to $52.12 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 29 cents to $54.92 a barrel in London. Energy companies took small losses. They’re trading at their highest prices in about 18 months after a big six-week rally. Noble Energy lost 99 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $40.17 and Baker Hughes skidded 62 cents to $65.77.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slid to 2.54 percent from 2.60 percent late Friday. That sent interest rates lower and affects the profits banks make from mortgages and other loans. Bank stocks lagged the market.

Government bond yields have climbed recently. Last week the yield on the 10-year note rose to its highest level in more than two years.

SEEKING DIVIDENDS: Income-seeking investors turned their attention to groups of stocks that pay large dividends, similar to bonds. That sparked gains for real estate and phone companies, among others. Welltower, which owns senior housing facilities, rose $1.27, or 1.9 percent, to $66.45 and health care facility-focused HCP gained $1.20, or 4.1 percent, to $30.34.

Real estate investment trusts have lagged the market in recent months and mostly missed out on the post-election rally.

ROGUE WON: Disney climbed after “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” brought in an estimated $155 million in worldwide ticket sales in its first weekend. That was better than expected and the second-best December movie opening ever, after “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” last year. Disney rose $1.47, or 1.4 percent, to $105.38.

Consumer companies, including retailers, traded higher at the start of the last week of shopping before Christmas.

INSURANCE DEAL: Insurance company Allied World Assurance will be bought by Fairfax Financial Holdings of Canada for $54 a share in cash and stock, or $4.7 billion. Its stock jumped $5.62, or 12.3 percent, to $51.39.

LANDS’ END LANDS NEW CEO: Casual clothing company Lands’ End is hiring the former chief executive of high-end luggage maker Tumi as its next CEO. Jerome Griffith has also worked at clothing brands including Gap and J. Peterman. Federica Marchionni, who had been recruited from Dolce & Gabbana, left Lands’ End in September after less than two years as sales continued to slump. The company’s stock jumped 75 cents, or 4.4 percent, to $17.85.

VIRTU-OSITY: Electronic trading firm Virtu Financial traded lower after President-elect Trump said he plans to nominate the company’s founder and chairman, Vincent Viola, for the position of secretary of the Army. Viola, an Army veteran, is a former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and owns the NHL’s Florida Panthers. He’s the second head of a publicly-traded company expected to take a role in Trump’s administration, following Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, who has been nominated for secretary of state.

Former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon and CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder are also expected to join the administration, as are Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross.

Virtu stock slipped 39 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $15.81. The company went public last April in an IPO that priced at $19 a share. Its market capitalization is around $600 million.

CURRENCIES: The dollar reversed course and sank to 117.32 yen from 118.01 yen. The euro slid to $1.0401 from $1.0433.

METALS: Gold rose $5.30 to $1,142.70 an ounce. Silver lost 13 cents to $16.09 an ounce. Copper sank 7 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $2.50 a pound.

OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to $1.56 a gallon. Heating oil remained at $1.67 a gallon. Natural gas fell 2 cents to $3.39 per 1,000 cubic feet.

OVERSEAS: The FTSE 100 index in Britain added 0.1 percent while Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent. In France the CAC-40 was 0.2 percent lower. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.1 percent while in South Korea the Kospi edged 0.2 percent lower and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.9 percent.

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