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

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Nasdaq on track for fifth straight daily advance

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U.S. stocks rose tentatively on Thursday, putting major benchmarks in record territory, amid dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen in two days of testimony on Capitol Hill, which has enlivened buyers.

While major indexes briefly turned negative in early trade, they subsequently rebounded and returned to modestly higher levels. The CBOE Volatility index dipped under the level of 10 at its lows of the session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19 points, or 0.1%, to 21,551. The blue-chip average ended at a record on Wednesday and is on track to do the same on Thursday. The S&P 500 gained 2.8 points to 2,446, a rise of 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 3 points to 6,264, essentially unchanged on the day.

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.

"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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Read: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, Fed boss Yellen emphasized before the House Financial Services Committee that the central bank's gradual approach to tightening policy and said interest rates don't have to rise all that much further.

She testified on Thursday before the Senate Banking Committee.

Her comments--interpreted as dovish by investors--on Wednesday helped to send U.S. stocks higher (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. The S&P 500 ended at its second-highest close.

In other Fed news on Thursday, Fed Gov. Lael Brainard will speak about 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 took a big step lower on Thursday after the International Energy Agency said global oil supply in June rose by 720,000 barrels a day (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.

Crude oil dropped 0.9% to $45.08 a barrel, after climbing 1% on Wednesday following upbeat data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-extends-gains-after-upbeat-us-production-data-2017-07-12).

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% 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 1.8%.

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 9.7%, extending its advance 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 2.2% 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 rose, with gold up 0.1% at $1,220.60 an ounce.

The ICE Dollar Index was flat at 95.770.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 13, 2017 11:43 ET (15:43 GMT)