By Riva Gold and Aaron Kuriloff
U.S. stocks stabilized Wednesday as government bonds weakened ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 45 points, or 0.2%, to 19069, a day after closing above 19000 for the first time. The S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.3%.
The moves come after the blue chip index, S&P 500, Nasdaq and Russell 2000 all closed at record highs on Tuesday for a second day in a row, spurred by a recent uptick in corporate earnings, a jump in oil prices and hopes that the election of Donald Trump would lead to higher growth and inflation.
Many expect the gains to hold in the coming weeks.
"This is relief," said Shannon Saccocia, head of asset allocation at Boston Private Wealth. "We have positive earnings posted, an energy market which has stabilized, and we'll have fiscal spending that will benefit parts of the market that have lagged," she said.
Pharmaceutical company shares fell after an experimental Eli Lilly & Co. drug failed to significantly help Alzheimer's patients in a clinical trial, reviving concerns about the course of efforts to develop treatments for the disease. Lilly shares fell 10%. Biogen and Merck & Co., which are also developing similar drugs, lost 4.1% and 0.2% respectively.
Shares of Juno Therapeutics lost 27% after the biopharmaceutical company said two patients died in a midstage trial of its cancer treatment.
Fresh selling hit government bonds, after new signs of strength inthe U.S. economy. Yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.352%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.319% Tuesday after the Commerce Department said orders for long-lasting durable goods rose in October at the fastest pace in a year, a signal the U.S. factory sector has begun to stabilize. Yields rise as prices fall.
The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the U.S. currency against 16 others, rose 0.7%, on pace for its highest close since October 2002. The gains came as expectations have grown for higher inflation and higher U.S. interest rates.
Minutes from the Federal Reserve's November meeting Wednesday showed Fed officials saying an interest-rate increase was possible "relatively soon" if data continued to show an improving economy, with some arguing an increase should occur in December. The course of interest rates in 2017 will be crucial for the performance of the bond market as well as stocks, investors say.
"Thepace of appreciation of the U.S. dollar over the last two weeks has been pretty quick and pretty sharp," said Christophe Foliot, head of international equities at Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management.
Mr. Foliot is favoring more domestically oriented U.S. stocks in his portfolios, which he said are less likely to suffer than multinationals if the dollar continues to strengthen or Mr. Trump enacts protectionist policies. They are also more likely to benefit more from tax cuts and a growing U.S. economy, he said.
The Stoxx Europe 600 fell less than 0.1%. The British pound rose 0.2% against the dollar to $1.2449 as investors analyzed the U.K.'s Autumn Statement, revealing the government's tax and spending plans after the June referendum on European Union membership.
U.K. Treasury chief Philip Hammond said he would aim to close the budget deficit as soon as possible, but not by 2020, and set out plans for infrastructure spending to support the economy.
The U.K. economy will grow more slowly over the next few years than was forecast before the referendum, Mr. Hammond said.
For European equities to pick up, "you need foreign investors coming back to Europe and more clarity on political issues, which can't happen before Dec. 4," said Mr. Foliot, referring to the date of a coming referendum on constitutional reform.
Earlier, stocks in Australia and South Korea followed Wall Street higher, while markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai struggled for traction after three days of gains. Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.
Investors also continued to keep an eye on the price of oil ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries next week. U.S. crude lost 0.1% to $47.99 a barrel.
--Sam Goldfarb contributed to this article.
Write to Riva Gold at email@example.com and Aaron Kuriloff at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 23, 2016 14:45 ET (19:45 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.