S&P 500 prolongs gain while banks pull down Dow Jones Industrial Average

S&P 500

The S&P 500 closed slightly higher as investors considered the mixed earnings reports while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was pulled down by bank stocks.

Nasdaq went up closing at a record high for the second day in a row, carried by big tech companies such as Facebook and Apple.

The shares of Allergan went up 3.7 percent after the company’s profit and revenue in the fourth-quarter exceeded estimations. Gilead Sciences shares slipped 8.6 percent and were the biggest drag on S&P after the company’s weak forecast for its hepatitis C medicines.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average went down 0.18 percent or 35.95 points to 20,054.34.

The S&P 500 went up 0.07 percent or 1.59 points to 5,682.45.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.15 percent or 8.24 points to 5,682.45.

Financials were the worst-performing sector for the S&P 500, sliding 0.8 percent. The biggest drag on the Dow Jones Industrial Average was Goldman Sachs which fell 0.8 percent and JP Morgn which fell 0.9 percent.

Bank stocks are sensitive to interest rate changes, and U.S. Treasury yields fell to their lowest levels in weeks.

The real estate and utilities sectors, which normally perform well in low-rate environments, were the best performing groups.

"As the yield curve flattens, we’re back to a very tough environment for financials," said Kingsview Asset Management portfolio manager, Paul Nolte. "They live off the spread."

According to Thomson Reuters, with about two-thirds having reported results, fourth quarter earnings are back on track to have climbed 8.3 percent, which would be the best performance since 2014’s third quarter.

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