Major Indexes Set Records

Major Indexes Set Records

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index reached record highs Wednesday morning as a rally in energy companies led U.S. stocks higher.

Energy companies gained as countries in OPEC, which collectively produce more than one-third of the world's oil, moved closer to completing an agreement that would trim oil production. Banks are also advancing as bond yields and interest rates increase.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow rose 77 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,199 as of 9:55 a.m. Eastern time. It touched an all-time high of 19,225. The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 9 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,213 and also set a record shortly after the start of trading. The Nasdaq composite added 8 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,387.

OIL WATCH: Benchmark U.S. crude surged $3.24, or 7.1 percent, to $48.45 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international benchmark, gained $3.43, or 7.3 percent, to $50.73 a barrel in London. At a meeting in Vienna, ministers from OPEC nations seemed to focus less on whether there would be a cut and more on how it would be shared among members. OPEC agreed to the preliminary terms of a deal in September, which sent oil prices sharply higher. But crude dropped almost 4 percent Tuesday as investors felt a deal was becoming less likely.

ENERGY COMPANIES: Higher oil prices mean more revenue for companies that extract or sell oil, and energy companies made big gains Wednesday morning. Exxon Mobil picked up $1.65, or 1.9 percent, to $87.55 and Chevron rose $2.59, or 2.4 percent, to $111.93. Devon Energy climbed $5.31, or 12.6 percent, to $47.47.

BANKS: Banks rose as members of President-elect Donald Trump's economic team discussed ways to make it easier for banks to lend more money, which could lead to larger profits for financial institutions. Steven Mnuchin, Trump's proposed nominee for Treasury secretary, said the administration wants to make changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law because it makes it harder for banks to lend. The law was passed to prevent another financial crisis, but critics say it went too far and stopped banks from making loans that people and businesses need to spend and hire.

JPMorgan Chase added $1.13, or 1.4 percent, to $80.05. Goldman Sachs rose $6.25, or 3 percent, to $218 and Fifth Third Bancorp gained 69 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $26.08.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 2.39 percent from 2.29 percent, its highest level since mid-2015. Bond yields are linked to higher interest rates.

High-dividend stocks slumped. Investors who want income tend to buy those stocks when bond yields are low and then sell them again when bond yields rise.

Utilities, real estate investment trusts and phone companies took the largest losses on the market. Duke Energy lost $1.82, or 2.4 percent, to $74.55. Mall operator Simon Property Group gave up $2.13, or 1.2 percent, to $180.17.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose. It climbed to 113.47 yen from 112.33 yen. The euro fell to $1.0600 from $1.0647.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 was up 0.9 percent, as was the FTSE 100 in Britain. Germany's DAX gained 0.4 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was flat and the Kospi of South Korea gained 0.3 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent.

(KA)