Stocks Edge Up, Led by Real Estate Shares

By Amrith RamkumarFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks inch higher

-- Trading volumes remain muted

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-- Falling government bond yields boost real estate, utilities stocks

U.S. stocks inched higher in quiet trading Wednesday, boosted by shares of real estate and utilities companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 34 points, or 0.1%, to 24780 after paring earlier losses. The S&P 500 rose 0.2%, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.2%. All three indexes had fallen in two straight sessions entering Wednesday, with volumes muted around holidays for Christmas and New Year's Day.

Despite the short-term pause in this year's rally, many investors have said the earnings and economic backdrop remains favorable for stocks heading into 2018. Some analysts have also said they expect recently passed tax changes and a possible infrastructure spending bill to extend the recent run.

"If you continue to see the economy doing well for the balance of the year as we do, you would want to think of any consolidation or pullback as a buying opportunity," said Paul Christopher, head of global market strategy for Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

Real estate and utilities shares advanced as government bond yields fell for a second consecutive day. Those sectors, known as bond proxies because they tend to pay hefty dividends, had sold off in recent sessions as yields had climbed. Both S&P 500 groupings added roughly 0.5%.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.432%, according to Tradeweb, from 2.467% on Tuesday. Yields fall as prices rise. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against a basket of 16 others, was down 0.2%.

Corporate news also drove some of the day's larger moves.

Shares of General Electric advanced 0.4% following the industrial conglomerate's announcement that it is increasing its ownership in Sweden's Arcam, which develops electron-beam melting machines for manufacturing and produces advanced metal powders.

Tesla shares fell 1.1% after KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts said in a note to clients that they expect fewer Model 3 deliveries for the current quarter than previously anticipated, based on conversations with Tesla salespeople across the U.S. On Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased details for a pickup truck that would challenge Ford Motor and others, though he was vague about his intentions.

Boeing shares declined less than 0.1% after Morocco's Royal Air Maroc said it ordered four 787-9 Dreamliners from the aerospace giant valued at $1.1 billion at list prices.

Elsewhere, the Stoxx Europe 600 pared earlier losses and was up 0.1% in afternoon trading as regional markets reopened from a holiday, supported by gains in the basic resources, real estate and oil-and-gas sectors. Oil and copper have hit fresh multiyear highs recently, lifted by supply disruptions.

Technology stocks fell in Asia, a day after shares of Apple and some of its suppliers dragged down major U.S. indexes in a fall analysts attributed to reports that the company is considering cutting its first-quarter sales forecast for its iPhone X. The Shanghai Composite fell 0.9%, while South Korea's Kospi advanced 0.4%.

Riva Gold and Kenan Machado contributed to this article.

Write to Amrith Ramkumar at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 27, 2017 12:11 ET (17:11 GMT)