Dow posts biggest gain in nearly 2 months

Stocks rallied for their fourth gain in a row Wednesday as banks climbed along with bond yields. On Wall Street there were signs investors were a bit less nervous about trade tensions.

Some of the biggest gains went to industries that have lagged the market in the past few months, including financial companies. Interest rates rose as bond prices fell. That can signal higher rates on mortgages and other consumer loans. Bank of America gained 3.2 percent.

Multinational companies such as Boeing and McDonald’s also rose. That helped the Dow Jones industrial average make its biggest gain in almost two months.


Worries about international trade disputes have been affecting the market since late February, but Karyn Cavanaugh, senior markets strategist at Voya Investment Management, said investors might have started focusing on the strength of the US economy and continued global growth instead.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

‘‘It’s refreshing to see that investors are realizing this is an incredibly good economic backdrop and it’s an incredibly good environment for companies to make money,’’ she said. ‘‘We’re in a sweet spot where we have some growth and low inflation and investors just don’t want to believe it.’’

The S&P 500 index added 0.9 percent, to 2,772.35. The Dow rose 1.4 percent, to 25,146.39. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.7 percent, to 7,689.24. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks gained 0.7 percent, to 1,675.95. The Nasdaq and Russell have set all-time highs each of the last few days.

Electric car maker Tesla surged to its biggest gain in 2½ years as investors grow more confident it will meet its production targets for the Model 3 sedan. CEO Elon Musk said he expects the company to produce 5,000 Model 3s in a single week by the end of this month. The Model 3 is Tesla’s attempt to reach the mass market.

Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.78 percent from 2.93 percent.


JPMorgan Chase climbed 2.3 percent and Wells Fargo added 2 percent. Banks have fallen over the past few months even though long-term interest rates have reached their highest levels in years.

Health care and basic materials companies, which are essentially flat over the same period, did better than the rest of the market Wednesday. CVS Health rose 2.8 percent; chemical maker DowDuPont jumped 3.2 percent.

That didn’t mean investors were ready to overlook trade issues. Brown-Forman, maker of Jack Daniel’s and other liquors, slumped 6.1 percent. The company said it has concerns about how trade tensions might affect its business. On Tuesday, Mexico announced tariffs on bourbon and other US products, and the European Union may place duties on Kentucky bourbon. The duties are in response to the tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that President Trump imposed last week.

Signet Jewelers soared after the company had a stronger first quarter than Wall Street expected and said there are signs its sales are stabilizing. Signet traded as high as $75 a share in November. Since then it has reported weak sales, announced more store closings, and dealt with complications from the sale of its credit portfolio. The stock rose 18.4 percent to $52.27 Wednesday.

Benchmark US crude shed 1.2 percent to $64.73 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, inched down to $75.36 in London.