Financial Shares Drive U.S. Stocks Higher

By Jon Sindreu and Aaron Kuriloff Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks rose after two straight sessions of declines, as gains in financial shares boosted major indexes.

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Moves have been relatively muted in recent weeks, with some analysts and investors saying signs of improvement in the global economy and corporate earnings will likely continue to support markets.

"As long as earnings are strong and the economic backdrop good, I'm still cautiously optimistic," said Susan Bao, portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 37.46 points, or 0.2%, to 21173.69. The S&P 500 added 3.81 points, or 0.2%, to 2433.14 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 22.32 points, or 0.4%, to 6297.38.

Financial stocks rebounded after Tuesday's declines, with exchange operators among Wednesday's biggest gainers.

Intercontinental Exchange rose $2.07, or 3.4%, to $63.62, CME Group gained 2.85, or 2.4%, to 119.41 and CBOE Holdings added 2.11, or 2.4%, to 88.88. Nasdaq Inc. rose 1.34, or 2%, to 69.60. The financial sector led gains in the S&P 500, rising 0.8%.

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Shares of financial companies have recently moved in tandem with longer-term U.S. government bond yields. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.180% Wednesday from 2.147% Tuesday, which was its lowest settlement since Nov. 10. Yields rise as prices fall.

Energy companies in the S&P 500 fell 1.5% -- their worst day since May 25 -- as the price of oil slumped. U.S. crude for July delivery lost 5.1% to $45.72 a barrel after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that crude inventories rose last week for the first time since March.

Investors were also looking ahead to a series of events scheduled for Thursday, including a policy decision from the European Central Bank.

Former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey is expected to testify in Washington that he felt President Donald Trump was trying to establish "a patronage relationship" with him, according to prepared remarks released Wednesday.

Early results for the U.K. general election will also start coming in, with the latest polls suggesting a tighter race than originally anticipated.

The Stoxx Europe 600 slipped less than 0.1% as shares of oil and gas companies fell. Bank shares rose, with Banco Santander bucking the trend. Its shares lost 0.9% in Madrid after the bank announced the takeover of Spanish rival Banco Popular Español, which the ECB had deemed "likely to fail" earlier Wednesday.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 were both little changed, while Korea's Kospi lost 0.4%. The Shanghai Composite Index added 1.2%.

Write to Jon Sindreu at jon.sindreu@wsj.com and Aaron Kuriloff at aaron.kuriloff@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 07, 2017 17:10 ET (21:10 GMT)