US stocks end modestly higher

| Updated: October 25, 2017 05:07:11

File Photo (Reuters) File Photo (Reuters)

US stocks closed modestly higher, lifting the S&P 500 index to its fifth record close in a row.

The Dow Jones industrial average, which crossed past the 23,000 mark for the first time on Wednesday, also finished the day with its fifth-straight all-time high.

Banks led the gainers Friday. Technology companies also posted big gains, helping to drive the Nasdaq composite to a record high, reports AP.

The latest milestones came as investors drew encouragement from the Senate’s passage of a budget bill that is expected to ease the path for the White House’s tax cut proposal.

The S&P 500 index rose 13.11 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 2,575.21. The Dow gained 165.59 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 23,328.63. The Nasdaq composite added 23.99 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 6,629.05.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 7.20 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 1,509.25.

The S&P 500 and the Dow are now on a six-week winning streak.

Should tax reform pass, it’s also a good bet that interest rates will move higher, which will benefit banks and other financial companies. That’s one reason banks and bond yields rose Friday.

Higher bond yields allow banks to charge higher interest rates on mortgages and other loans. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.38 per cent from 2.32 per cent late Thursday.

Synchrony Financial gained $1.33, or 4.2 per cent, to $33.04. Citizens Financial Group picked up 90 cents, or 2.4 per cent, to $38.33.

Both also reported higher quarterly earnings than analysts had been expecting.

Technology sector companies also had a good day.

PayPal Holdings climbed 5.5 per cent after the payment technology company reported big gains in new users and transactions. The stock rose $3.72 to $70.97.

Skechers USA soared 41.4 per cent after the shoe company said that its profit and sales were stronger than analysts expected. The stock rose $9.96 to $33.99.

Atlassian jumped $9.92, or 24.6 per cent, to $50.17. The business software company’s earnings and revenue beat Wall Street’s forecasts. It also raised its forecast.

Oil prices closed higher after wavering between small gains and losses for much of the day.

Gold fell $9.50 to $1,280.50 an ounce. Silver lost 18 cents to $17.09 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $3.17 a pound.

The dollar strengthened to 113.50 yen from 112.65 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $1.1780 from $1.1830.

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