S&P 500, Dow up as rising treasury yields boost banks

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York

After 164 sessions without a record close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday closed at a record high of 26,656.98, eclipsing its previous record set on January 26.

The trade dispute between the USA and China is set to escalate Monday.

The S&P 500 posted 53 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 49 new highs and 31 new lows.

Telecoms rose 1.4 percent on its last trading day as a discrete major S&P sector, and was the index's biggest percentage gainer.

China called for US President Donald Trump to show China "respect" a day after both countries announced new tariffs on each other. It has spiked about 3,300 points since a low on April 2, when investors were more anxious about trade.

A weaker dollar is particularly favorable for large-cap companies that do business overseas, because it makes their products more competitive.

"It has a lot to with the ebbs and flows of the headlines coming out of Washington", said Matthew Keator, partner in the Keator Group, a wealth management firm in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Nothing it seems can slow down the Wall Street bull, not trade fears, not natural disasters or any other perceived market risks.

"Corporate cash flow is at a record high, unemployment is low, regulatory reform and tax reform have certainly provided winds to the sails of the market", Keator added.

Yields on long-dated US Treasuries edged down on Brexit anxieties even as the US Federal Reserve is expected to hike key interest rates next week. The S&P 600 closed at 1,074.35 for a loss of -5.57 points or -0.52%. The more broadly based S&P 500 was up 22.80 points at 2,930.75, its 19th closing high this year and a 9.6 per cent rise since January.

Trader Tommy Kalikas works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

Elsewhere, the tech-laden Nasdaq was also trading 12 points higher at 8,040 while Toronto's TSX added 15 points to climb to 16,230.

"Quadruple witching", when stock options and futures expire, and the rebalancing of the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000 indexes also contributed to heavier traffic.

Defense stocks, including Northrop Grumman Corp, Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon Co were down after the United States said it was ready to resume talks with North Korea after Pyongyang pledged to denuclearize by 2021.

However, General Electric (GE.N) dropped 3 percent after the company flagged issues with its new H-class gas turbine.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.16-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 2.72-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

While trade-sensitive industrial stocks such as Boeing and Caterpillar powered the Dow's rally, technology stocks lifted the S&P 500 to a fresh record.

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