By Akane Otani and Riva Gold
-- S&P 500 gains 0.2%
-- Stoxx Europe 600 slides 0.5%, Nikkei off 1.3%
-- WSJ Dollar Index rises 0.2%
U.S. stock indexes steadied Thursday after their worst selloff of the year as investors lifted shares of consumer and technology companies.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18 points, or 0.1%, to 20623, led by gains in Wal-Mart and Apple. The S&P 500 added 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4%.
Turmoil in Washington has put the Trump administration on the defensive and renewed concerns among investors that the White House may struggle to push through proposals on tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending. Bets on such policy changes had helped stocks and the U.S. dollar climb after Election Day while sending government bonds lower.
Still, many say that longer term, jitters in Washington are unlikely to derail the stock rally. A buoyant global economy and solid corporate earnings should help major indexes keep climbing, investors and analysts say.
Data Thursday showed the number of Americans applying for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week for the third consecutive time in a fresh sign of steady job creation.
"I still continue to go back to the economy when I'm talking to clients. As long as the U.S. economy remains in a good foundation...that creates a supportive environment for equities," said Shannon Saccocia, head of asset allocation and portfolio strategy at Boston Private Wealth.
Shares of technology companies, among the worst hit in Wednesday's stock selloff, recoveredslightly Thursday. Apple shares climbed 1.1%, among the best performers in the Dow industrials.
The blue-chip index received another boost from gains in shares of Wal-Mart, which rose 2.5% after posting its 11th straight quarterly increase in same-store sales.
Some investors caution that further signs of dissension in Washington could put pressure on stocks, especially if they suggest a delay in tax cuts, which many hope will boost corporate earnings.
"Two weeks ago, we were talking about policy, and now we're talking about all of the political firestorm swirling around the White House," said Brett Wander, chief investment officer for fixed income at Charles Schwab Investment Management.
U.S. government bonds were little changed Thursday, with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note ticking up to 2.217%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.216% on Wednesday. Yields rise as bond prices fall. On Wednesday, Treasury yields posted their biggest one-day decline since the week of the U.K. referendum in June.
The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, inched up 0.2% after logging its worst session since March.
Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.5% amid declines in the shares of banks, miners and auto companies.
Earlier, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.3% as the yen rose, weighing on the shares of exporters. Declines in Japanese shares came despite economic data that showed first-quarter gross domestic product expanded 2.2% from a year earlier.
--Kenan Machado contributed to this article.
Write to Akane Otani at firstname.lastname@example.org and Riva Gold at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 18, 2017 13:47 ET (17:47 GMT)
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