Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at a record high

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as U.S. stocks continued to surge.
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as U.S. stocks continued to surge.
Published Jul. 12, 2016

NEW YORK — The stock market reached another milestone Tuesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high.

A day earlier, the broader Standard & Poor's 500 reached a record-high close. Both indexes beat peaks set in May 2015.

The Dow rose 120.74 points, or 0.7 percent, to 18,347.67, 35 points higher than its previous closing high set May 19, 2015.

The S&P 500 gained 14.98 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,152.14, also a new record. The Nasdaq composite rose 34.18 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,022.82.

Investors continued to show an appetite for taking on risk. The biggest gainers included energy companies, which have been benefiting from a recovery in the price of oil, materials companies and banks.

Financial companies, which have lagged the market this year, have been rising in recent days as long-term interest rates move higher in the bond market. Higher rates mean banks can make more money from lending.

On Tuesday, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.50 percent from 1.43 percent. The yield plunged last week as low as 1.32 percent, an all-time low, according to Tradeweb.

Despite recent increases, however, bond yields remain near historic lows, a worrisome sign to many analysts. Bond yields tend to fall when demand for bonds rises, which can indicate that investors are seeking safety.

"I wish we can be celebrating, but it's a little disconcerting," said Rob Bartenstein, CEO of Kestra Private Wealth Services. "You've got government bonds at historical lows and equity markets at historical highs.

"That's not something you see at the same time. … I feel underinvested, but I'm not willing to chase stocks."

Sectors that investors tend to favor when they're nervous, including utilities, phone companies and makers of consumer staples, all fell as investors moved money out of lower-risk assets.

Aluminum maker Alcoa kicked off the second-quarter earnings season on a positive note by reporting revenue and profit that beat Wall Street expectations. The stock jumped 55 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $10.69.

Earnings for companies in the S&P 500 are expected to fall compared to the year-ago period, but then rise in the next quarter.