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Market Watch: US stocks move higher as tech companies regain some ground

June 26, 2018 - 11:47 am
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By MARLEY JAY, AP Markets Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mostly higher Tuesday as energy companies rise with oil prices and technology and industrial companies bounce back from sharp losses the day before. General Electric is jumping after it said it will shed its health care business and its majority stake in oil services company Baker Hughes over the next few years. Banks and other financial companies are down.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index gained 7 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,724 as of noon Eastern time. It fell 1.4 percent Monday, its worst loss since early April. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 57 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,310. The Nasdaq composite added 25 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,557 after it plunged 2.1 percent a day ago. The Russell 2000 index picked up 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,662.

TECH: Apple climbed 1.5 percent to $184.82 and Microsoft gained 1.1 percent to $99.48 while Cisco Systems added 1.4 percent to $42.89. Technology stocks were hammered Monday as investors reacted to reports that the Trump administration might bar technology companies from selling certain high-tech products to China and other countries and limit investment in tech companies by Chinese firms. Stocks recovered some of those losses after a top U.S. trade adviser rebutted those reports.

ELECTRIFIED: GE jumped 7.9 percent to $13.76 after the company said it will sell its two-thirds stake in Baker Hughes and also divest its health care business. GE agreed to sell its distributed power business to Advent International for $3.25 billion on Monday. The company has sold numerous major businesses in recent years including its lending unit, its appliance businesses and its stake in NBC.

Baker Hughes rose 2.3 percent to $33.19, helped by the move in oil prices.

Tuesday was also the first day in 110 years that General Electric wasn't part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 2.8 percent to $70.01 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 1.5 percent to $75.66 per barrel in London.

Exxon Mobil jumped 1.3 percent to $80.80 and Chevron picked up 1.2 percent to $124.13.

BONDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.88 percent. Banks continued to fall, as lower interest rates reduce the profits they make on mortgages and other types of lending. JPMorgan Chase lost 0.7 percent to $104.03 and Citigroup fell 0.7 percent to $65.31.

American Express fared better than the rest of the industry after the company said it will launch a small business credit card through a partnership with Amazon. It said that's part of a larger deal between the two companies. American Express picked up 0.2 percent to $98.72 while Amazon rallied 1.2 percent to $1,683.52 after a loss of more than 3 percent Monday.

LONG WAIT: Tuesday marks five months since the S&P 500 and the Dow last closed at record highs. Over the following two weeks the indexes dropped 10 percent as investors reacted to signs of rising inflation and adjusted to the end of a historically calm period in the financial markets. While inflation remains in check five months later, multinational companies like those in the S&P 500 and Dow have also been hit by rising trade tensions between the U.S. and other countries, as well as data showing that the economies of Japan and Europe aren't growing as quickly as they did last year.

The S&P 500 is down about 5 percent from its Jan. 26 record and the Dow has fallen almost 9 percent.

The Nasdaq, which has a high concentration of technology companies, and the smaller and more domestically-focused Russell 2000, closed at record highs on Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.92 yen from 109.45 yen. The euro fell to $1.1676 from $1.1704.

OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX lost 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 fell 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain jumped 0.6 percent.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose less than 0.1 percent while South Korea's Kospi lost 0.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent.

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