US stocks jump as Apple pulls tech companies up again
NEW YORK – U.S. stocks are climbing Thursday as Apple leads a big gain for technology companies. Energy companies are bouncing back from steep losses as the price of crude oil edges higher. With the Federal Reserve’s next meeting less than a week away, investors are reviewing economic reports for clues about the Fed’s intentions and the health of the economy.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 198 points, or 1.1 percent, to 18,232 as of 2:50 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 23 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,148. The index had fallen five days out of the last six. The Nasdaq composite added 75 points, or 1.5 percent, to 5,249.
APPLE PICKED: Apple made its fourth strong gain in a row as investors became more optimistic about early sales of its newest iPhone models. The stock added $3.36, or 3 percent, to $115.13, its highest price of 2016. The stock is up almost 12 percent so far this week. Other technology companies also rose. Microsoft gained $1.01, or 1.8 percent, to $57.27 and Intel picked up 98 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $36.60.
Strong gains for technology companies like Apple, as well as health care companies, have the Nasdaq on pace for its best week since the beginning of July.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 33 cents to $43.91 per barrel in New York. It fell almost 6 percent in the last two days. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 74 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $46.59 a barrel in London. Among energy stocks, Marathon Petroleum rose $1.98, or 4.7 percent, to $43.85 and Chevron gained $1.56, or 1.6 percent, to $99.98.
DATA DELUGE: Investors pored over a series of reports about the state of the economy. The Labor Department said producer prices fell in August as gas and food prices declined. That could affect the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates next week. The lower producer prices keep inflation low, and the Fed has said it wants to see evidence inflation is edging upward before it raises rates.
Separate reports showed that retail sales fell last month and factory production decreased as well.
THE QUOTE: Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist for Voya Investment Strategies, said investors are sending stocks higher because they think the reports will make the Fed less likely to raise interest rates now. Some investors fear that that would hurt the economy.
“They’re not going to raise interest rates in September,” she said. “It was kind of a mixed bag, but the bottom line is that the data’s not great.”
RUBBER MEETS THE ROAD: Goodyear Tire & Rubber climbed after the company boosted its dividend and said it plans to return $4 billion to shareholders over the next few years. The stock rose $1.57, or 5 percent, to $32.38.
UP IN THE AIR: Aerie Pharmaceuticals surged $9.13, or 43.2 percent, to $30.26 after the company reported positive results from a late-stage trial of Roclatan, an experimental glaucoma drug.
HEAVY TRADING: Online brokerage E-Trade rose $1.05, or 3.8 percent, to $28.29 as investors liked what they saw in a presentation about the state of E-Trade’s business.
ZOMBIFIED: AMC Networks fell $1.56, or 3 percent, to $50.41 after Stifel Nicolaus analyst Benjamin Mogil downgraded the company because competition is growing and ratings for its hit “The Walking Dead” may weaken as the show enters its seventh season.
UNWELLS: Wells Fargo lost 19 cents to $46.33. Regulators said last week that the bank opened more than 2 million accounts that customers may not have authorized and transferred money into those accounts without their approval. The company agreed to pay a $185 million fine and says it will cut back on aggressive sales targets, but the controversy is damaging its reputation.
The stock is mired in a five-day losing streak that has pulled its value down 7 percent.
BONDS: Bond prices wobbled. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained 1.70 percent.
METALS: Gold fell $8.10 to $1,318 an ounce and silver lost 3 cents to $19.04 an ounce. Copper remained at $2.16 a pound.
OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline jumped 7 cents, or 5 percent, to $1.43 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $1.42 a gallon. Natural gas added 4 cents to $2.93 per 1,000 cubic feet.
CURRENCIES: The dollar slid to 102.12 yen from 102.42 yen. The euro dipped to $1.1242 from $1.1249.
OVERSEAS: The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares traded 0.9 percent higher. Germany’s DAX rose 0.5 percent while the CAC 40 of France edged up 0.1 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.3 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6 percent.
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