MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow, S&P 500 Try For 4th Straight Gain, Led By Bank Stocks

By Wallace Witkowski and Anora Mahmudova, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Nasdaq Composite sees up-and-down trade

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U.S. stock-index benchmarks on Tuesday held on to gains after the White House released its 2018 budget proposal, with Wall Street on track for a fourth session amid mixed economic data and an updraft in shares of financial firms.

The S&P 500 index , which earlier broke above the 2,400 mark for the first time in a week, rose nearly 6 points, or 0.2%, at 2,399. Financial and utilities stocks were leading gains, with nine of the benchmark's 11 sectors in the green.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60 points, or 0.3%, to 20,954, with shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.(JPM) swinging from earlier losses in the session to become leading gainers on the average. Those bank shares were contributing about 40 points to the blue-chip gauge.

The Nasdaq Composite Index , which saw slight advances and losses during the session, was most recently up 3 point,s or less than 0.1%, at 6,137.

Meanwhile, markets in Europe traded slightly higher on Tuesday after a cautious start following the suspected suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/death-toll-rises-to-22-in-suspected-suicide-bombing-in-manchester-2017-05-23) in Manchester, England, that left at least 22 people dead.

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"Geopolitical trauma is disheartening and scary, but the reality is that companies continue to do business. PMI data from the eurozone at six-month high suggests that their economy is gaining steam, all of which bodes well for global equities," said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist at Voya Financial.

While stocks drifted higher after the White House rolled out its proposed budget, they soon ceded those gains. Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth, said the release of the budget proposal was a nonissue, seeing that it's highly unlikely to survive in its present form in Congress.

Read: Trump budget forecasts an era of growth not consistently seen since the dot-com era (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-budget-forecasts-rosy-economic-growth-2017-05-22)

"The market doesn't know what to make of it," Pavlik said. "If you're trading stocks on this budget proposal, then you're an idiot."

Rather, the uplift in stocks has a lot to do with President Donald Trump traveling abroad and appearing presidential, and how that's stealing some thunder away from the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the Russia probes, Pavlik said. When Trump returns stateside, however, the Russia probe news will likely gain traction again and weigh on stocks, especially with Comey testifying before lawmakers after Memorial Day.

Read:Wall Street has declared Trump to be irrelevant (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-street-has-declared-trump-to-be-irrelevant-2017-05-23)

On the economic data front, U.S. flash readings on purchasing managers indexes for services and manufacturing for May were mixed. Manufacturing PMI dipped to an 8-month low, while services PMI rose to a 4-month high.

Stock movers: Shares of Agilent Technologies Inc.(A) rose 3.6% after the maker of scientific equipment late Monday raised its earnings and revenue guidance for 2017.

AutoZone, Inc.(AZO) shares slid 10% after disappointing earnings results. Rival Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (AAP) also fell 3.8%.

U.S.-listed shares of Nokia Corp.(NOK) jumped 5.6% after the Finnish company and Apple Inc.(AAPL) settled long-running intellectual property disputes. Financial details of the deal weren't disclosed, but Nokia will receive an upfront cash payment from Apple (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nokia-apple-end-disputes-enter-patent-license-2017-05-23), with additional revenue during the term of the agreement. Apple shares slipped 0.4%.

Xilinx Inc.(XLNX) shares dropped 5.7% after Wells Fargo downgraded the chip maker (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/xilinxs-stock-rocked-after-modest-outlook-prompts-analyst-downgrade-2017-05-23).

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.(ALXN) shares fell 9% following a management shake-up (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/alexions-top-management-shake-up-includes-cfo-who-started-in-december-2017-05-23) at the drugmaker.

Bunge Ltd. (BG) shares jumped 14% following a report that Glencore PLC(GLEN.LN) has made a takeover approach (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/grain-trader-bunges-shares-surge-16-on-report-of-glencore-approach-2017-05-23) for the grain trader.

Other markets:Oil prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-pulls-back-from-1-mo-high-after-trump-budget-proposal-includes-selling-some-us-stockpiles-2017-05-23) rose 0.6% to their one-month high reached on expectations the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will extend production cuts into next year.

Read:Oil prices at a crucial crossroad: 'Death cross' or 'golden cross' (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-at-a-crucial-crossroad-death-cross-or-golden-cross-2017-05-23)

Gold prices (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-pulls-back-from-three-week-high-as-dollar-index-firms-2017-05-23) declined 0.5% to settle at $1,255.50 an ounce, and the dollar traded 0.2% higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 1 basis point to 2.265%.

Asian stocks closed mixed.

--Sara Sjolin in London contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 23, 2017 14:57 ET (18:57 GMT)