US stocks ring in 2018 with gains as tech leads again

Technology and health care companies jumped Tuesday as US stocks started the new year the same way they spent the last one: rising steadily and setting records. Energy companies, which struggled in 2017, also climbed.

Asian markets rose after surveys in China and India showed continued manufacturing growth in the world’s most populous countries. US stocks followed suit as investors snapped up shares of companies that should benefit from faster economic growth, including technology, health care, and materials companies, just as they did last year. The Nasdaq Composite busted through another milestone as it closed above 7,000 points.

‘‘We’ll continue to see many of the themes from last year play out,’’ said Kate Warne, an investment strategist for Edward Jones.


She said the global economy should keep growing and businesses and consumers around the world will continue to spend more money. It helps that interest rates are low, and governments in areas that reduced their spending during the Great Recession are becoming more willing to spend.

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.8 percent, to a record 2,695.79. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 0.4 percent, to 24,824.01. The Nasdaq jumped 1.5 percent, to 7,006.90. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gained 0.9 percent, to 1,550.51, also a new high.

The Nasdaq had its best opening day since 2013 as the big technology companies that dominated in 2017 got the new year off to a good start. Facebook rose 2.8 percent, and Apple climbed 1.8 percent. Chip maker Nvidia climbed 3 percent.

Drug and medical device companies led the health care sector higher. Hepatitis C and HIV drug maker Gilead Sciences gained 3.4 percent. Abbott Laboratories, which sells medications, infant formula and medical devices, picked up 3 percent, and Baxter International gained 3.9 percent.

Retailers also rose. That included Amazon, which added 1.7 percent. Retailers that struggled last year, including big-box and department stores, also fared well. Target rose 3.9 percent, as did Kohl’s. Early indications suggest shoppers had a busy holiday season and investors will look for confirmation of those reports in the weeks to come.


Bond prices slid. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.46 percent from 2.41 percent. The yield on 2-year note rose to 1.92 percent from 1.89 percent.

The increase in bond yields sent high-dividend stocks like utilities, household goods makers, and real estate companies lower. Higher bond yields make those stocks less appealing to investors seeking income.

Weight Watchers International climbed 8 percent after it struck a deal with producer and recording artist DJ Khaled, who will represent the brand to millions of followers on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Bitcoin rose after The Wall Street Journal reported the venture capital firm Founders Fund, cofounded by Peter Thiel, bought around $15 million in bitcoin in mid-2017. The report cited anonymous sources. The digital currency rose 11.1 percent to $14,901, according to Coindesk.