Stocks shook of earlier losses and ended higher Tuesday, led by a rise in bank stocks as major indexes pushed further into record territory.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 92 points, or 0.5%, to an all-time closing high well above that landmark 20,000 level — and a little over halfway to the next 1,000-point rung, at 20,504.41.
Meanwhile the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.4% and the Nasdaq composite index gained 0.3%. Both indexes also set new all-time closing highs. All three indexes’ previous closing highs came in Monday’s session.
Bond yields rose after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is still on track to raise interest rates gradually.
Yellen answered questions before a Senate committee, and she said that the strengthening job market and a modest move higher in inflation should warrant continued, gradual increases in interest rates.
Bond yields moved higher immediately following Yellen’s comments. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.47% from 2.43% late Monday.
Higher interest rates can mean bigger profits for banks because they can charge more for loans. Financial stocks in the S&P 500 rose 1.1%, most in the index.
Rising bond yields, meanwhile, can also mean less demand for stocks that pay big dividends. Utility stocks in the S&P 500, which are some of the market’s highest yielders, fell 0.9%. It was the largest loss among the 11 sectors that make up the index. Real-estate investment trusts, which have relatively big dividend yields, were also weak.
Stocks have been on a strong run driven by better-than-expected corporate earnings, an improving economy and expectations for more help for businesses from Washington. A gain for the S&P 500 on Tuesday would be the sixth straight, and the index is up 9.1 percent since Election Day.