S&P 500 Set for Longest Streak in Years

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks climbed again on Thursday, and the gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 put the index on track for its longest winning streak in four years. Financial stocks led the way on expectations their profits will rise with interest rates.

Trading was again mostly quiet around the world, and markets were closed at several of Asia's big exchanges due to holidays.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 rose nearly 13 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,550, as of 1:35 p.m. Eastern time. If the gain holds, it will be the eighth straight day where the index has climbed, which would be its longest such streak since 2013.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 100, or 0.4 percent, to 22,763, and the Nasdaq composite added 39, or 0.6 percent, to 6,574. All three indexes closed at records on Wednesday.

HIGHER YIELDS, HIGHER BANKS: Financial companies were particularly strong following a rise in interest rates. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.34 percent from 2.32 percent late Wednesday, and higher rates would allow banks to make bigger profits from making loans.

Financial stocks in the S&P 500 rose 1.2 percent, more than double the gain of any of the other 10 sectors that make up the index.

POP THE CORK: Constellation Brands jumped to one of the biggest gains in the S&P 500 after it reported stronger earnings for the latest quarter, and it also raised its forecast for upcoming profit. The company has been focusing on the higher end of the beer, wine and spirits markets.

Its stock rose $8.05, or 4 percent, to $209.23.

A COSTLIER CHILL: Netflix jumped after it raised the price on its most popular U.S. video streaming plan by 10 percent. Netflix stock gained $6.84, or 3.7 percent, to $191.29.

NAVIGATING ROUGHER WATERS: Student-loan servicing company Navient fell after it said it was buying Earnest, a lender, for $155 million and would suspend its stock buyback program through 2018.

Navient fell $2.00, or 13.6 percent, to $12.70 for the largest loss in the S&P 500.

ECONOMY WATCH: Fewer workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, which could be an indication that layoffs are slowing. Claims had jumped in earlier weeks after hurricanes struck Florida, Georgia and Texas.

The government will release its monthly update on jobs growth on Friday, and it's usually a big driver for markets. Many economists expect to see Friday's report show that hiring fell from a month earlier as a result of the hurricane damage.

Separate reports showed that orders at factories rebounded by a stronger margin than economists expected in August, and rising exports helped trim the nation's trade deficit to its lowest level in nearly a year.

QUIET DAY OVERSESAS: In Asia, holidays in Shanghai, Hong Kong and South Korea kept markets closed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index was virtually flat.

In Europe, France's CAC 40 ticked up by 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX was close to flat and the FTSE 100 rose 0.5 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.79 Japanese yen from 112.98 yen late Wednesday. The euro dipped to $1.1703 from $1.1764, and the British pound slipped to $1.3127 from $1.3250.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 76 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $50.74 per barrel. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, advanced $1.08 to $56.88 per barrel.

(BE)