Dow industrials rose on Thursday, defying a general downtrend as bank shares continued to outperform the broader market.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68.35 points, or 0.4%, to close at a new record high of 19,191.93. The index held in positive territory throughout the day despite a choppy futures environment ahead of the New York open. Dow Jones futures were up 67 points by the end of the day.
Half of the Dow’s 30 companies finished higher on Thursday. Banks contributed the most to the gains, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE: JPM) adding 3.4% and 2%, respectively.
Shares of General Electric Co (NYSE: GE) advanced 2.1%. UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH), a Minnesota-based drugmaker, finished 1.7% higher.
Other top performers included oil company Chevron Corp (NYSE: CVX) and Travelers Cos Inc. (NYSE: TRV), the Dow’s only insurer. Each component rose at least 1.6%.
Technology stocks largely comprised the bottom of the index Thursday. Chipmaker Intel Corp (NASDAQ: INTC) was the biggest decliner, falling 2.7%. Credit card Visa Inc. (NYSE: V), which is also listed under information technology, fell 2.4%. Software giant Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) and tech giant IBM Corp (NYSE: IBM) declined 1.8% and 1.5%, respectively.
Volatile tech shares sent the Nasdaq Composite Index sharply lower on Thursday. The benchmark gauge declined 1.4% to close at 5,251.11, its lowest in two weeks. Meanwhile, the large-cap S&P 500 Index fell 0.4% to settle at 2,191.08.
Across the Atlantic, European stocks snapped a two-day winning streak amid a global bond selloff and worries about an upcoming Italian referendum. The Stoxx Europe 600 ended 0.3% lower. All major bourses declined, with the UK’s FTSE 100 falling 0.5% and Germany’s DAX shedding 1%.
On Friday, the US Labor Department will report on November nonfarm payrolls, arguably the most closely followed economic event of the month. Another solid monthly reading in the jobs data will hasten calls for a US rate hike later this month. The report on Friday is expected to show the creation of 170,000 nonfarm jobs last month.