U.S. Stocks Hit Records Again in Quiet Trading Session
By Michael Wursthorn
Major U.S. indexes hit a trifecta of records Tuesday despite relatively muted trading as investors braced for the Federal Reserve's policy decision this week.
Easing geopolitical concerns and steady global growth have encouraged investors to keep lifting stocks higher in recent sessions, with the gains Tuesday fueled by telecommunications and financial companies.
Still, the subdued trading environment Tuesday saw the S&P 500 notch one of its smallest intraday ranges since May.
Investors appeared to be holding off on making new bets ahead of the Fed's upcoming policy announcement. Many expect the central bank to announce Wednesday that it will keep rates unchanged and that it will start unwinding its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.
"It's a really quiet market. People are in a wait-and-see mode ahead of the Fed meeting," said Bret Chesney, a senior portfolio manager at Alpine Global Management. "With the things I'm trading today, just nodding at the stock moves prices."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 39.45 points, or 0.2%, to 22370.8 -- the blue-chip index's eighth consecutive session of gains. The S&P 500 added 2.78 points, or 0.1% to 2506.65, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 6.68 points, or 0.1%, to 6461.32. Each of the major indexes closed at new records Tuesday.
The S&P 500 telecommunications sector climbed 2.3%%, among the biggest gainers in the broad index, after CNBC reported that T-Mobile and Sprint were in active talks about a merger. Sprint rose 52 cents, or 6.8% to $8.20, while T-Mobile gained 3.62, or 5.9%, to 65.42.
Major indexes also got a boost from financial companies, which rose along with bond yields Tuesday. Higher yields tend to boost lenders' profits. Comerica gained 1.16, or 1.6%, to 71.84, while U.S. Bancorp added 78 cents, or 1.5%, to 53.16.