Markets Right Now: US stocks move higher; Dow nears record

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The Dow Jones industrial average was last up 87.46 points, or 0.48 percent, at 18,314.39.

Treasurys are rallying. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note is down 3 basis points to 1.476%. Equities were headed for a higher close shortly before the bell as the DJIA traded up 0.65% for the day, the S&P 500 traded up 0.68%, and the Nasdaq Composite traded up 0.67%. The Nasdaq also saw its highest levels of the year so far, up 34 points to close at 5,022.82 - effectively wiping out all of its losses for 2016. The S&P has soared 17.7% since reaching a low of the year of 1,829 on February 11.

After big moves up in recent days, investors appeared to take a bit of breather. The biggest gainers included energy companies, which have been benefiting from a recovery in the price of oil; materials companies; and banks.

Shares had advanced partly on the view that the USA economy is on solid footing and on the expectation that central banks in most developed economies will continue to keep interest rates at rock-bottom levels. Citigroup gained 93 cents, or 2.7%, to 43.44 dollars.

Despite recent increases, however, bond yields remain near historic lows, a worrisome sign to many analysts.

Safe-haven assets such as U.S. Treasuries, the Japanese yen and gold fell in price.

Freight rail company CSX jumped 4.4 percent as it announced second-quarter earnings of 47 cents per share, three cents above analyst expectations, following cuts of $96 million in expenses. Although history shows this to be an old bull market, stocks tend to see additional gains after reaching a new high for the first time in over a year.

PROFIT PICTURE: Company earnings reports got off to a good start.

Seagate Technology surged $5.18, or 22 percent, to $29.27 after forecasting strong sales.

In commodities, Brent crude, the worldwide oil price benchmark, traded down 1.7% at $47.65 a barrel after industry data showed a surprise increase in USA oil inventories.

United States crude oil price dropped to a two-month low of $44.75 (£34.06; €40.35) a barrel.

"A surprising build in gasoline in the peak of the USA driving season and a very large build in heating oil will set the tone for lower prices", said Tariq Zahir, a trader in crude oil spreads at Tyche Capital Advisors in NY.

ASIA ADVANCES: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.8 percent and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.7 percent.

Bond prices fell as investors moved money out of lower-risk investments.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was near flat at 21,303.

France's CAC 40 rose 1.6 percent and Germany's DAX added 1.3 percent.

Spot gold recovered from its lowest in almost two weeks, and was last up 0.62 percent at $1,339.50 an ounce.

Even so, he projects the Canadian dollar to fall to the 72 to 74 cents US range over the next few months as traders await to see if the U.S. Federal Reserve will, in fact, hike interest rates at least once this year.

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