Stock trifecta: Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500 climb to new heights

Last Updated Nov 21, 2016 4:52 PM EST

NEW YORK - Three benchmark U.S, stock indexes closed at record highs, the first time that has happened in more than 16 years.

The price of oil rose about 4 percent as investors hope the countries in OPEC, which collectively produce more than a third of the world’s oil, will soon finalize a deal that would lower oil production and help support prices. The gains were widespread, with technology, basic materials and utility companies all moving higher. 

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 89 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 18,957, topping the record close it set last week. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 16 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,198. The Nasdaq composite finished at 5,369, up 47 points, or 0.9 percent, beating its all-time high from September.

The last time all those indexes set records on the same day was Dec. 31, 1999, according to Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist for LPL Financial. 

For the year, the Dow is up 1,531.66 points, or 8.8 percent; the S&P 500 is up 154.24 points, or 7.5 percent; and the Nasdaq is up 361.45 points, or 7.2 percent.

An index of small-company stocks, which have outpaced the market this month, is also at a record high. The Russell 2000 has climbed for 12 straight trading days. Investors are betting that smaller companies will benefit from President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to lower corporate taxes and loosen regulations.

Financial markets are also betting that OPEC countries will soon be able to finalize a deal that would cut oil production and help support prices. Meat producer Tyson Foods is tumbling after it reported weak fourth-quarter results.

The Dow has been setting records since the presidential election earlier this month, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq reached all-time highs this summer. Small-company stocks, which are at record highs already, also continued to climb.

Benchmark New York crude gained $1.96, or 4.3 percent, to $47.65 a barrel while Brent crude, the international standard, rose $2.09, or 4.5 percent, to $48.95 a barrel in London. That led to gains for energy companies. Marathon Oil added 81 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $16.43 and Exxon Mobil added $1.10, or 1.3 percent, to $86.38. Chevron gained $1.44, or 1.3 percent, to $110.64.

OPEC nations will meet in Vienna on Nov. 30. They have agreed to preliminary terms of a deal that will reduce the production of oil slightly, but the details remain to be determined.

Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, said investors are encouraged that OPEC is trying to limit production. But she doesn’t think a deal, if one happens, will have much effect on oil prices.

“There’s nothing to suggest the agreement’s going to hold,” she said. “When all is said and done, supply and demand will ultimately dictate the price.”

Meat producer Tyson Foods tumbled $9.76, or 14.5 percent, to $57.60. The company’s fourth-quarter profit and sales fell far short of Wall Street’s forecasts as Tyson’s chicken business struggled. The company also said CEO Donnie Smith will step down at the end of this year, and company president Tom Hayes will replace him.

Competitor Hormel Foods lost 64 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $34.94.

Small-company stocks have surged since the election. The Russell 2000 has risen for 12 days in a row.

Technology stocks also made substantial gains. They have lagged the market since the election after very strong performance over the summer. Facebook rose $4.75, or 4.1 percent, to $121.77 while online payments company PayPal advanced 55 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $40.63 and Apple picked up $1.69, or 1.5 percent, to $111.75.

Identity theft and fraud protection company LifeLock jumped $3.06, or 14.7 percent, to $23.81 after security software maker Symantec agreed to buy the company for $2.3 billion. The deal values LifeLock at $24 a share. Symantec picked up 77 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $24.52, a sign investors approve of the purchase.

Sunoco Logistics agreed to buy Energy Transfer Partners in an all-stock deal worth about $20 billion. Both companies are involved in the Dakota Access oil pipeline, a project that’s been the subject of protests for months. A portion of that pipeline would pump oil under Lake Oahe, a reservoir in North Dakota, and the local Standing Rock Sioux tribe says it fears a leak could contaminate the drinking water on its reservation. The tribe also says the pipeline could disturb sacred sites.

Both companies traded lower after the deal was announced, as they won’t distribute as much cash to shareholders after combining. Energy Transfer Partners lost $2.85, or 7.2 percent, to $36.52 and Sunoco Logistics skidded $1.72, or 6.6 percent, to $24.47. Energy Transfer Equity, the general partner of Energy Transfer Partners, picked up 63 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $17.92.

Gold inched up $1.10 to $1,209.80 an ounce. Silver lost 10 cents to $16.52 an ounce. Copper climbed 5 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $2.52 a pound.

The dollar slipped after trading at 13-year highs last week. The euro rose to $1.0612 from $1.0599. The dollar rose to 111.07 yen from 110.63 yen.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.32 percent from 2.35 percent. That helped utility stocks. They stocks tend to do better when bond yields fall because investors seeking income buy them for their big dividends.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline gained 6 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $1.40 a gallon. Heating oil rose 7 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $1.52 per gallon. Natural gas rose 11 cents, or 4 percent, to $2.95 per 1,000 cubic feet.

France’s CAC-40 index rose 0.6 percent while the DAX of Germany picked up 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index in Britain rose less than 0.1 percent. The Nikkei 225 of Japan rose 0.8 percent. South Korea’s Kospi dipped 0.4 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong edged up less than 0.1 percent.