US stocks extend winning streak to 11th day

A late push helped US stocks finish higher after indexes spent most of the day lower.

There was far more selling than buying on Wall Street overall, but the Dow Jones industrial average managed to extend its winning streak to an 11th day.

Energy companies and banks struggled. Investors continued to buy safer assets like government bonds, gold, and stocks that pay large dividends, such as utility and telephone companies.

After a long string of gains earlier in February, stocks wobbled this week and bond prices jumped, which sent yields down. That hurts banks by forcing rates on mortgages and other kinds of loans lower.

The Dow fell as much as 76 points during the day but recovered to gain 11.44 points, or just under 0.1%, to 20,821.76. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 3.53 points, or 0.1%, to 2,367.34. Both indexes are at all-time highs. The Nasdaq composite rose 9.80 points, or 0.2%, to 5,845.31. The Russell 2000 index, which tracks smaller companies, slid 0.1 points to 1,394.52.

Bond prices sank again. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slid to 2.32% from 2.39%. Investment banks and insurers traded lower as well.

Investors bought utility stocks and phone company stocks, which pay large dividends similar to bonds. Exelon gained 1.20 dollars, or 3.3%, to 37.18 dollars and NextEra Energy rose 2.77 dollars, or 2.2%, to 130.96 dollars. AT&T picked up 41 cents, or 1%, to 42.36 dollars.

Gold and silver continued to rise. Gold picked up 6.90 dollars, or 0.6%, to 1,258.30 dollars an ounce. Gold is trading at its highest price since just after the presidential election, though it's down sharply from last summer. Silver added 22 cents, or 1.2%, to 18.34 dollars an ounce and copper picked up 4 cents, or 1.4%, to 2.70 dollars a pound after a steep loss the previous day.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 46 cents to 53.99 dollars a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, fell 59 cents, or 1%, to 55.99 dollars a barrel in London.

Energy companies continued to trade lower. They've fallen sharply over the last month. The S&P 500 energy company index is down about 7% this year while the broader S&P 500 is up almost 6 percent.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline declined 1 cent to 1.51 dollars a gallon. Heating oil fell 2 cents to 1.64 dollars a gallon. Natural gas picked up 1 cent to 2.63 dollars per 1,000 cubic feet.

The dollar slid to 111.98 yen from 112.75 yen. The euro fell to 1.0565 dollars from 1.0574 dollars.

The DAX in Germany fell 1.2% and France's CAC 40 slumped 0.9%. In Britain the FTSE 100 shed 0.4%. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.5% and South Korea's Kospi fell 0.6%. The Hang Seng of Hong Kong fell 0.5%.


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