Dow Edges Higher but Falls Short of 20000

FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Technology shares helped lift U.S. stocks in a quiet session Tuesday.

Trading volumes have dwindled and stocks have moved in a narrow range around the holiday period. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hasn't made a move of at least 1% in either direction since Dec. 7.

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Still, the blue-chip index has extended a postelection rally that has lifted it 8.8% since Nov. 8 and brought its 2016 gain to 14%. Adding to the index's gains, sectors that had been among the worst performers at the beginning of the year -- including energy and financial companies -- have made a steep rebound from their 2016 lows.

There has been "a recovery of those areas that were down so long," said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management. "That's what I think gives [the rally] a bit of staying power."

On Tuesday, shares rose broadly and modestly in the U.S. The Dow industrials added 11.23 points, or less than 0.1%, to 19945.04, boosted by a 0.6% gain in Apple Inc. The S&P 500 gained 5.09 points, or 0.2%, to 2268.88 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 24.75 points, or 0.5%, to a new closing high of 5487.44.

The S&P 500 tech sector rose 0.4%, led by Nvidia Corp., which rose for a 10th consecutive session to close up $7.54, or 6.9%, at $117.32. The chip maker is up 256% for the year. If it holds its gains through the end of 2016, it will have notched the biggest annual percentage gain of any S&P 500 stock since 2013, when Netflix Inc. jumped 298%.

Energy shares added 0.2% in the S&P 500 as U.S. crude oil rose 1.7% to $53.90 a barrel, its highest level since July 2015.

The dollar strengthened slightly, continuing a postelection runup that has brought it to a 14-year high. The currency has strengthened in recent weeks on bets of higher inflation and rising rates, which make it more attractive to yield-seeking investors. The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, added 0.1% Tuesday.

U.S. government bonds resumed their postelection slide. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note edged higher to 2.563% -- near its highest level in more than two years -- from 2.542% Friday. Yields rise as prices fall.

The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.1%, but its bank index fell 0.2% after the European Central Bank said Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena has a much bigger hole in its balance sheet than previously calculated, meaning the Italian government will have to ramp up the amount it will have to deploy to rescue the lender.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose less than 0.1%, snapping a three-session losing streak, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3%.

--Ben Eisen and Aaron Kuriloff contributed to this article.

Write to Natascha Divac at and Akane Otani at