Trader Gregory Rowe, center, wears a "Dow 26,000" hat as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. The Dow Jones industrial average traded above 26,000 for the first time. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Dow Jones industrial average crosses 26,000 points

January 16, 2018 - 10:40 am
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U.S. stocks climbed in morning trading Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average past the 26,000-point mark for the first time. Technology, health care and financial stocks accounted for much of the market's gains. Energy companies were the biggest laggard. Investors were sizing up the latest company earnings and deal news after returning from a long holiday weekend.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,795 as of 11:33 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 156 points, or 0.6 percent, to 25,959. It was up as much as 282 points earlier. The Nasdaq added 35 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,296. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 5 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,597.

EARNINGS WATCH: Investors were watching for the impact of Washington's latest tax changes on U.S. companies as earnings season for the final quarter of 2017 gets into full swing. Many multinational corporations are taking one-off charges for bringing home money held abroad. But investors expect them to benefit in the long run from the decision to cut the standard tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent and are bidding up their share prices.

FEELING CHIPPER: Technology stocks accounted for some of the biggest gains Tuesday, with several chipmakers moving sharply higher. Qualcomm led the pack, rising $2.14, or 3.3 percent, to $67.52.

BIG CHARGE: Citigroup rose 0.4 percent after the bank reported an $18.3 billion loss for the fourth quarter due to the new tax law. Excluding the one-time charges, Citigroup earned a profit. The stock was up 29 cents to $77.13.

HEALTHY QUARTER: UnitedHealth Group gained 2.4 percent after its said earnings more than doubled in the final quarter of 2017. The nation's largest insurer also hiked its forecast well beyond expectations, largely due to help from the federal tax overhaul. The stock picked up $5.54 to $234.18.

IN GEAR: General Motors rose 1.9 percent after the automaker said it expects strong sales in North America and China will sustain its profit through the rest of this year. GM also said it will take a $7 billion write-down in 2017 tied to the U.S. tax overhaul. Its shares added 85 cents to $44.92.

HIGH-VOLTAGE BUYOUT: Energizer Holdings surged 15.6 percent after the company said it will acquire the battery and lighting assets of Spectrum Brands, which includes the Varta and Rayovac battery brands. Energizer shares added $8.04 to $59.66. Spectrum gained $2.65, or 2.2 percent, to $123.13.

DEAL OR NO DEAL: Viacom slid 5.3 percent after following several reports saying the media company is not in talks to merge with CBS Corp. The tumble follows a sharp jump in Viacom shares Friday after a published report suggested that a merger might be a possibility. Viacom fell $1.80 to $31.96. CBS rose 77 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $59.60.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held steady at 2.55 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude slipped 35 cents to $63.95 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 84 cents to $69.42 in London.

The slide in oil prices weighed on energy sector stocks. Range Resources was down 65 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $16.93.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged higher after days of heavy losses. The U.S. currency was up to 110.75 yen from 110.52 yen on Monday. The euro slipped to $1.2232 from $1.2181.

THE BITCOIN TRADE: The price of bitcoin was down about 10.6 percent in morning trading Tuesday to $12,143, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange were down 12.1 percent to $12,130. The futures allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin. The price of the digital currency, which soared last year after starting the 2017 under $1,000, has been hurt amid signs of potentially increased scrutiny from governments. South Korea's top financial policymaker said Tuesday that banning trading in digital currencies was an option, adding such a move still needed to be reviewed by government ministries.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe were mixed. Germany's DAX gained 0.1 percent and France's CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent. London's FTSE 100 shed 0.3 percent. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.8 percent. Seoul's Kospi rose 0.7 percent. India's Sensex was unchanged, while markets in New Zealand, Taiwan and Southeast Asia gained. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 shed 0.5 percent.

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