MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Market Books 4th Straight Session Of Gains As Banks Lead The Charge

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

S&P 500, Dow industrials on longest win streak since February

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U.S. stock-index benchmarks closed higher Tuesday, marking a fourth straight session in the green following the White House's release of its 2018 budget proposal.

The moves come 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 4.40 points, or 0.2%, to finish at 2,398.42. Financial and health-care shares led the gains, with 10 of the benchmark's 11 sectors closing higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43.08 points, or 0.2%, to wrap up at 20,937.91, with shares of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.(JPM) swinging from earlier losses in the session to leading the average higher. Those bank shares contributed 32 points to the blue-chip gauge, while a 1.3% gain in Caterpillar Inc.(CAT) shares added about 9 points.

The winning streak for the two benchmarks is the longest since late February.

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Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index , which saw slight advances and losses during the session, closed up 5.09 points, or less than 0.1%, at 6,138.71, for its longest winning streak since May 10.

Tuesday's trade comes less than a week after equity indexes on Wednesday suffered their worst daily loss in months (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-slide-as-concerns-over-trump-grow-2017-05-17).

Meanwhile, markets in Europe finished 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. Asian stocks closed mixed.

"Geopolitical trauma is disheartening and scary, but the reality is that companies continue to do business. [Purchasing managers index] 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.

Also in focus was Presidential Donald Trump's 2018 budget.

Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth, said the release likely was a nonissue, seeing that it is 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 Trump traveling abroad and appearing presidential, and how that's stealing some thunder away from the firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey and the Russia probes, Pavlik said. When Trump returns stateside, however, the probe 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 PMI reading 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 4.6% after the maker of scientific equipment late Monday raised its earnings and revenue guidance for 2017.

AutoZone, Inc.(AZO) shares slid nearly 12%, marking its steepest decline since 2008, after disappointing earnings results. Rival Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (AAP) also fell 4.6%.

U.S.-listed shares of Nokia Corp.(NOK) jumped 5.3% 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 0.1%.

Xilinx Inc.(XLNX) shares dropped 5.3% 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 declined 9.3% 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 nearly 17% 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) settled higher for a fifth straight day, up 0.7% at $51.47 at a one-month high 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 0.4% higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 3 basis points to 2.285%.

--Sara Sjolin in London contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 23, 2017 16:35 ET (20:35 GMT)