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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Record-setting stock streak hits sixth day on broad gains

Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. (Richard Drew / Associated Press)
By Marley Jay Associated Press

NEW YORK – U.S. stocks rose for the sixth day in a row Friday as major indexes continued to set records. The biggest gains went to companies that have been mostly left out of the post-election rally, including health care companies and makers of household goods.

Stocks were solidly higher throughout the day and jumped an hour before the close of trading. Coca-Cola and Pfizer both gained 2.5 percent. Investors have mostly avoided consumer goods makers and health companies in recent weeks. Instead they’ve bought banks and machinery companies, which could benefit more from a faster-growing economy.

“What we’re seeing today is investors who are fearful they’ll be left behind,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist for Edward Jones. “So it may not be surprising that they’re buying less aggressive stocks and sectors.”

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 142.04 points, or 0.7 percent, to 19,756.85. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 13.34 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,259.53. The Nasdaq composite gained 27.14 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,444.50. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 1.71 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,388.07.

The S&P 500’s six-day winning streak is its longest in two and a half years.

Among household goods companies, PepsiCo gained $1.42, or 1.4 percent, to $103.57. Energy drink maker Monster Beverage also rose, as did drugstore chains CVS and Walgreens.

Coca-Cola climbed as investors reacted positively to the company’s CEO transition plans. Coke said Muhtar Kent will give up his CEO title in May, and Chief Operating Officer James Quincey, a 20-year veteran of the company, will become CEO.

Drug companies bounced back from their recent losses. Those stocks, especially biotechnology companies, were hit hard this week after President-elect Donald Trump said he wants to reduce drug prices. Bristol-Myers Squibb gained $1.81, or 3.3 percent, to $57.04 and Botox maker Allergan rose $3.78, or 2 percent, to $192.25.

Overall, health care companies are nearly flat since Nov. 8.

Technology stocks rose for the sixth consecutive day and completed their best week in a year. They’ve slightly lagged the market since Election Day. Chipmaker Broadcom rose $8.38, or 4.9 percent, to $179.09 after reporting earnings that were far above expectations. The company also doubled its quarterly dividend. Apple gained $1.83, or 1.6 percent, to $113.95. Google parent Alphabet reversed its post-election losses and picked up $14.28, or 1.8 percent, to $809.45.

U.S. government bond prices slipped again. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note inched up to 2.47 percent, its highest in about 18 months, from 2.41 percent late Thursday. That yield is used to set interest rates on many kinds of loans including mortgages.

Next week the Federal Reserve will meet for the last time in 2016. Investors expect the central bank to raise its key interest rate, and Wall Street will look for clues about the Fed’s plans for future interest rates.

“They’re hoping that the Fed continues with the current message: that they’ll be patient, that they’re watching the economy, and that they see the risks as balanced,” said Warne.

Banks made small gains. The S&P 500 financial index has climbed 18.5 percent since Nov. 9, twice as much as any other sector. The S&P 500 overall is up 3.1 percent. Banks are trading at their highest prices since early 2008.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil jumped 66 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $51.50 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, added 44 cents to $54.33 a barrel in London.

Gold lost $10.50 to $1,161.90 an ounce. Silver fell 13 cents to $16.97 an ounce. Copper picked up 2 cents to $2.65 per pound. Gold reached a 10-month low Friday, and that helped pull mining companies lower. Basic materials makers also struggled.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline was little changed at $1.51 a gallon. Heating oil picked up 1 cent to $1.64 a gallon. Natural gas gained 5 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $3.75.

European stocks had an even stronger week than their U.S. counterparts after the European Central Bank said it will spend another $579 billion to stimulate the economy by buying bonds, but said it will buy slightly smaller amounts of bonds each month. It said the danger of deflation, which damages growth, had passed.

The blue-chip Euro Stoxx 50 jumped 6 percent for the week. Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent Friday and finished the week up 6.6 percent. The CAC 40 in France rose 0.6 percent and the British FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent.

The dollar jumped to 115.23 yen from 114.07 yen. The euro fell to $1.0551 from $1.0613.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.2 percent as the yen fell. The weaker yen is good news for Japanese exporters. Among other Asian indexes, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.4 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi index slid 0.3 percent after legislators voted to impeach President Park Geun-hye over a corruption scandal. She has denied allegations she colluded with a confidante who extorted companies and manipulated state affairs. South Korea’s prime minister will lead the country until a high court rules if Park must resign.