Gains for banks and tech lead stocks to all-time highs

Friday, December 2, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 49

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks edging higher in late morning trading Thursday, keeping major market indexes at record highs. Banks, technology and materials companies are leading the way higher. Defense contractors and other industrial companies are taking losses. Bond yields rose.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average inched up 14 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,564 as of 11:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,242. The Nasdaq composite gained 22 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,415, on pace for a record close. Small-company stocks continued to outpace their bigger counterparts and the Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks jumped 11 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,375.

BOND BOOST: U.S. government bond prices fell, sending yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.39 percent from 2.34 percent. That drove banks stocks up since higher interest rates will allow banks to charge more for lending money. Goldman Sachs, which is trading at a nine-year high, rose $3.44, or 1.4 percent, to $238.96 and Bank of America picked up 35 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $22.93.

BIG GAINERS: Materials and technology companies rose more than the rest of the market. Chemicals maker DuPont added $1.02, or 1.4 percent, to $74.84 and Albemarle rose $2.08, or 2.3 percent, to $90.88. Specialty glass maker Corning, which said it will buy back as much as $4 billion worth of stock, jumped 68 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $25.27 while eBay picked up 75 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $29.67.

DEFENSE DOWN: Lockheed Martin fell $4.65, or 1.7 percent, to $261.73 and Northrop Grumman lost $6.61, or 2.7 percent, to $240.53 while Raytheon sank $2.16, or 1.5 percent, to $146.73. Transportation companies like airlines and railroads, which hit record highs Wednesday, also traded lower.

MORE HEALTH WOES: Pharmaceutical companies continued to trade lower. They slumped a day earlier after President-elect Donald Trump said he wants to reduce drug prices. He didn't discuss details and it's not clear if a Republican-controlled Congress would get on board, but drug company stocks had rallied since the election because investors didn't expect Trump to push for lower drug prices.

Pfizer slid 34 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $30.86 and hepatitis C drugmaker Gilead Sciences lost $1.56, or 2.1 percent, to $71.22 while drug distributor Express Scripts declined $1.77, or 2.3 percent, to $74.08.

LEMON AID: Athletic apparel maker Lululemon raised its annual profit forecast after its third-quarter results came in above Wall Street projections. Its stock jumped $9.57, or 16 percent, to $69.41.

SNAPPY DRESSERS: Tailored Brands, the parent of Men's Wearhouse, said it made progress in improving the performance of its struggling Jos. A. Bank business. The company also reported better sales than expected as well as a larger profit. The stock soared $8.34, or 44.1 percent, to $27.27. A year and a half ago it was trading around $60, but it has tumbled the company tried to reduce Jos. A. Bank's dependence on discounts.

JOIN THE CLUB: Warehouse club operator Costco reported a mixed quarter, but Wall Street found some encouraging trends in its business and shares recovered some of their recent losses. Kelly Bania of BMO Capital Markets said the company might raise membership fees to deal with weaker sales, while Edward Kelly of Credit Suisse said the company's growth should get stronger thanks to a new credit card and continued consumer spending.

Costco stock rose $6.46, or 4.2 percent, to $160.31. It traded at an all-time high of almost $170 this summer.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 92 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $50.69 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 91 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $53.91 a barrel in London. However energy company stocks didn't move much.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 114.22 yen from 113.85 yen. The euro slipped to $1.0614 from $1.0759.

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.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 added 0.3 percent to 4,671 while the German DAX was up 0.6 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain rose 0.2 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 1.5 percent and the Kospi in South Korea jumped 2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.3 percent.