US stocks close mostly higher

Business | 24 Jan 2020 11:21 am

Major U.S. stock indexes closed mostly higher Thursday, as gains in technology and industrial companies offset declines elsewhere in the market.

The S&P 500 notched a small gain for the second straight day, while a modest pickup nudged the Nasdaq composite to an all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed lower for the third day in a row, weighed down by a steep drop in shares of Travelers Cos. Bond prices rose, sending yields lower.

Trading was choppy for much of the day following a sell-off in Asia, where concern about the potential impact of a deadly new virus outbreak dragged stock indexes in China sharply lower. Fears that the coronavirus could spread, dampening tourism and economic growth, has weighed on global markets this week, driving up demand for U.S. government bonds and safe-play stocks.

Traders also had their eye on a mixed batch of company earnings reports, including encouraging quarterly results from American Airlines and Citrix Systems, and disappointing report cards from Travelers and Raymond James Financial.

The S&P 500 index inched up by 3.79 points, or 0.1 percent, at 3,325.54. The index had been down as much as 0.6 percent earlier in the day.

The Dow fell by 26.18 points, or 0.1 percent at 29,160.09. The Nasdaq gained 18.71 points, or 0.2 percent, at 9,402.48. The index, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, previously hit a record high last Friday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks added 0.55 points, or less than 0.1 percent, at 1,685.01.-AP


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