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Banks, retailers lead stocks higher

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks posted record highs Tuesday as bank shares kept rising and retailers climbed after some encouraging job data.

It was the second-straight day of big gains in bank stocks as bond yields pushed higher, which allows banks to charge higher rates on loans. Retailers rose after the Labor Department said job openings and hiring both increased in July and that more people quit their jobs to take new ones. That left investors hopeful that people will shop and spend more.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 8.37 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,496.48. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 61.49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,118.86. The Nasdaq composite picked up 22.02 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,454.28.

The S&P 500 finished at a record Monday, and the Dow finished a fraction of a point above its previous record, set in early August. The Nasdaq surpassed the record it set Sept. 1.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies jumped 8.64 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,423.46.

Chemicals company DowDuPont climbed after making changes to its breakup plans, something activist investors had pushed for. Meanwhile, Apple's newest iPhones didn't generate much excitement on Wall Street.

The bond market is "moving back to a comfort zone," said Matt Toms, the chief investment officer for Voya Investment Management's fixed income business. "Just enough growth, just enough inflation, but not too much of either."

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.16 percent after it jumped to 2.13 percent Monday. That helped banks. Bank of America added 59 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $23.95 while Citizens Financial Group gained $1.02, or 3 percent, to $34.48. Companies that pay big dividends, such as utilities and real estate investment trusts, didn't do as well as the rest of the market, as income-seeking investors were drawn to bonds.

Stocks were coming off their best day since late April. They rose Monday as Hurricane Irma weakened without doing as much damage as some forecasts had predicted last week. Investors were also relieved that the U.S.' tensions with North Korea didn't get any worse after a national holiday there.

DowDuPont, which was formed when two of the world's largest chemical companies combined in August, made some changes to its breakup plan after pressure from activist investors. DowDuPont will ultimately break up into three public companies. One will focus on agriculture, one on material science and one on specialty products. Tuesday's changes concern the material science and specialty products companies.

DowDuPont shares gained $1.67, or 2.5 percent, to $68.52.

Job openings posted by U.S. employers rose 0.9 percent to 6.2 million in July, the Labor Department said. That's the highest number on records dating to 2000.

Apple's stock gyrated as the company announced its newest iPhones and updates to other products. Apple was down early in the day, climbed as much as 1.5 percent as it made its announcements, and then wound up with a loss of 64 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $160.86.

Energy companies traded higher as benchmark U.S. crude rose 16 cents to $48.23 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, gained 43 cents to $54.27 a barrel in London.

Business on 09/13/2017

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