MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Trade In Record Territory As Dovish Yellen Emboldens Bulls

By Sue Chang, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Nasdaq on track for fifth straight daily advance

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U.S. stocks rose moderately Thursday, pushing major benchmarks into record territory, following dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen in two days of testimony on Capitol Hill.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31 points, or 0.2%, to 21,563. The blue-chip average ended at a record on Wednesday and is on track to extend its climb to all-time highs. The S&P 500 index gained 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,447. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 13 points, or 0.2%, to 6,274.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are on track for their second straight daily gain, while the Nasdaq is up for a fifth straight session--its longest streak in about six weeks.

Read:The stock market may not be able to defy gravity for much longer (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-stock-market-may-not-be-able-to-defy-gravity-for-much-longer-2017-07-12)

"The risk appetite is back in force after Janet Yellen hinted that the cost of borrowing could increase slower than previously thought at the first day of her semiannual testimony in front of the Congress," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group, in a note.

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Yellen testified on Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee where she indicated that federal-funds rate wouldn't need to rise significantly to "get to a neutral policy stance," reiterating her view from the previous day.

See:Live blog and video of Yellen's testimony (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-in-holding-pattern-as-traders-wait-for-yellen-2017-07-12)

On Wednesday, speaking in front of the House Financial Services Committee, Yellen emphasized that the central bank's gradual approach to tightening policy and said interest rates don't have to rise all that much further.

That Wednesday testimony--interpreted as dovish by investors--helped to set in motion a firm advance U.S. stocks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stock-futures-in-holding-pattern-as-traders-wait-for-yellen-2017-07-12) and gave the Dow its first closing record in nearly a month.

In other Fed news on Thursday, Fed Gov. Lael Brainard will discuss monetary policy at the NBER summer conference in Cambridge, Mass., at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Economic docket: First-time jobless claims fell by 3,000 in the latest week, reflecting an extremely low level of layoffs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-jobless-claims-drop-3000-to-247000-2017-07-13) that has become the norm as an economic recovery stretches into its ninth year.

Separately, producer prices rose 0.1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-wholesale-inflation-up-slightly-in-june-but-no-longer-rising-rapidly-ppi-shows-2017-07-13), about even with expectations.

See MarketWatch's Economic Calendar. (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Oil blues: Oil prices recovered from an earlier drop in response to the International Energy Agency data that showed global oil supply in June rose by 720,000 barrels (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/iea-raises-oil-demand-forecast-says-output-increased-in-june-2017-07-13) to 97.46 million a day, boosted by both higher production from OPEC and non-OPEC producers such as the U.S.

Stock movers: In a rare bit of good news for brick-and-mortar retailers, Target Corp. (TGT) said it now expects a surprise "modest increase" in same-store sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/targets-stock-jumps-after-raising-sales-profit-outlook-2017-07-13) for the fiscal second quarter, citing improved traffic and sales trends. The stock climbed 3.9%.

Shares of Nvidia Corp.(NVDA) rose 1.2% after surging to a record close on Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nvidias-stock-jumps-to-6th-straight-gain-after-suntrust-upgrade-2017-07-12) on the back of an upgrade at SunTrust.

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) reported second-quarter earnings that missed expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/delta-profit-misses-estimates-but-revenue-rises-2017-07-13), although revenue rose. Shares fell 2.4%.

Snap Inc. (SNAP) surged 4.2% after Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the Snapchat parent to buy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/snaps-stock-surges-after-stifel-turns-bullish-as-selloff-as-created-a-compelling-opportunity-2017-07-13), saying that a recent selloff in the stock had created a "compelling" opportunity.

U.S.-listed shares of Novartis AG(NOVN.EB) fell 1% despite a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel late Wednesday unanimously recommended the agency approve one of its cancer drugs (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/novartis-gets-fda-panel-recommendation-for-leukemia-drug-approval-2017-07-12).

NRG Energy Inc.(NRG) jumped 8.4%, extending its climb on Wednesday, which was its best-ever one-day percentage gain (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nrg-energys-stock-rockets-to-biggest-ever-one-day-gain-2017-07-12).

Tiffany & Co. (TIF) rose 0.4% after it named Alessandro Bogliolo as its new chief executive (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tiffany-names-diesel-head-alessandro-bogliolo-ceo-2017-07-13-6915717), effective Oct. 2.

Other markets: Asian stocks closed mostly higher, while European equities (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-rise-again-building-on-largest-advance-in-212-months-2017-07-13) added to their Yellen-fueled gains.

Most metals fell with gold down 0.2% to trade below $1,220 an ounce while the ICE Dollar Index edged up 0.1%.

--Sara Sjolin contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 13, 2017 13:16 ET (17:16 GMT)