U.S. Stocks Open Higher After Stumble

By Georgi KantchevFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.S. stocks rose Wednesday after major indexes posted their biggest declines in weeks a day earlier.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63 points, or 0.3%, to 21816, following the blue-chip index's largest one-day decline since Aug. 17 on Tuesday. The S&P 500 advanced 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.1% Wednesday.

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Strong economic data around the globe has underpinned stock markets this year, with U.S. equities hitting record highs over the summer even as investors have grown anxious about how long the bull run can last.

"While the [market] outlook is generally positive, there are a lot of risk factors out there," said Richard Benson, co-head of portfolio investments at Millennium Global Investments. "I'm positive but worried."

Shares of financial firms rebounded Wednesday after falling a day earlier following dovish comments from Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard. Ms. Brainard said the U.S. central bank should be cautious about raising short-term interest rates further until policy makers are confident of overcoming the "persistent failure" to reach 2% inflation.

Her comments added to investor concerns for banks globally, as lenders have been under pressure for much of the past decade in a low-rate environment.

The S&P 500 financial sector was up 0.4% following its worst day since mid-May on Tuesday.

The run of soft inflation data in the U.S. has been contributing to a two-month decline in Treasury yields. On Wednesday, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.075%, according to Tradeweb, after closing at 2.072% Tuesday, its lowest level since November. Yields rise as prices fall.

Investors also were tracking Hurricane Irma, which has grown into one of the most powerful storms ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean, prompting evacuations in Florida and disrupting air and sea travel.

Continuing tensions following North Korea's recent nuclear test -- its most powerful yet -- were also a concern for investors. North Korea issued a defiant response on Tuesday to U.S. attempts to impose new sanctions, declaring that it wasn't cowed by the Trump administration's warnings and hinting at an unspecified "counteroffensive."

The Stoxx Europe 600 wobbled between small gains and losses and was recently up 0.1%. Many investors were also looking ahead to the next monetary policy meeting of the European Central Bank on Thursday.

Most expect the ECB to hold off until next month to announce the start of winding down its EUR2.3 trillion ($2.7 trillion) stimulus program. But investors were awaiting comments by ECB President Mario Draghi, who is expected to offer clues about the stimulus phaseout.

The ECB meeting "may well turn out to be another nonevent, with new policy announcements only likely later in the year," Colin Harte, head of research of BNP Paribas Asset Management, wrote in a note to clients.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index -- among the world's best-performing stock benchmarks this year -- finished down 0.5%, while Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.1%.

Amrith Ramkumar and Ese Erheriene contributed to this article.

Write to Georgi Kantchev at georgi.kantchev@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 06, 2017 10:20 ET (14:20 GMT)