Gains for banks and retailers take stocks to record highs

Stocks rose to record highs Tuesday as banks kept rising and retailers climbed after some encouraging jobs data.

It was the second straight day for big gains in bank stocks as bond yields pushed higher, which allows banks to charge higher rates on loans. Retailers rose after the Labor Department said job openings and hiring both grew in July, and more people quit their jobs to take new ones. That left investors hopeful people will shop and spend more.

DowDuPont climbed after making changes to its breakup plans, something activist investors had pushed for. Apple’s newest iPhones didn’t generate much excitement on Wall Street, though.


The bond market is ‘‘moving back to a comfort zone,’’ said Matt Toms, chief investment officer for Voya Investment Management’s fixed-income business. ‘‘Just enough growth, just enough inflation, but not too much of either.’’

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.3 percent to 2,496.48. The Dow Jones industrial average also gained 0.3 percent, to 22,118.86, as did the Nasdaq Composite, rising to 6,454.28.

The S&P 500 had finished at a record Monday, and the Dow finished a fraction of a point above the record it set in early August. The Nasdaq surpassed the record it set Sept. 1.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies got a bigger boost from the job-openings report and jumped 0.6 percent to 1,423.46.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.16 percent after it jumped to 2.13 percent Monday. That helped banks. Bank of America added 2.5 percent, while Citizens Financial Group gained 3 percent. Companies that pay big dividends, like utilities and real estate investment trusts, didn’t do as well as the rest of the market, as income-seeking investors were drawn to bonds.


Stocks were coming off their best day since late April. They rose Monday as Hurricane Irma weakened without doing as much damage as some forecasts had predicted. Investors were also relieved that tensions between the United States and North Korea didn’t get any worse.

DowDuPont, formed when two of the world’s largest chemical companies combined in August, said it will ultimately break up into three public companies. One will focus on agriculture, one on material science, and one on specialty products. Tuesday’s changes concern the latter two companies. DowDuPont gained 2.5 percent.

Job openings rose 0.9 percent to 6.2 million in July, the Labor Department said. That’s highest on records dating to 2000. Hiring also increased and more people quit their jobs, which often means they are leaving for jobs that pay better. That helped smaller, domestically focused companies and retailers. Gap jumped 6.4 percent, and Victoria’s Secret parent L Brands advanced 3.9 percent.

Apple’s stock gyrated as the company announced its newest iPhones and updates to other products. The iPhone is the source of most of Apple’s revenue, and some investors have been worried that supply constraints will slow sales. Apple was down early in the day, climbed as much as 1.5 percent as it made its announcements, and then wound up with a loss of 0.4 percent.

Energy companies traded higher as benchmark US crude added 16 cents to $48.23 a barrel in New York. Brent crude gained 43 cents to $54.27 in London.