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VOL. 42 | NO. 7 | Friday, February 16, 2018

Technology companies help drive US stocks broadly higher

The Associated Press

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Technology companies and banks helped drive U.S. stocks broadly higher in early trading Thursday. Bonds yields declined after spiking a day earlier amid rekindled fears of higher interest rates. Investors were sizing up the latest company earnings news. Crude oil prices headed higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 11 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,712 as of 9:54 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 115 points, or 0.5 percent, to 24,913. The Nasdaq added 32 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,250. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 8 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,540.

BONDS WATCH: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.92 percent from a day earlier, when it climbed to 2.95 percent, the highest level since January 2014. The spike in bond yields came after the Federal Reserve's minutes from its January policy meeting showed bullish sentiment among policymakers, confirming their intention to raise interest rates this year.

Higher yields generally hurt stock prices by making bonds more attractive compared to equities. Earlier this month, global stock markets, particularly those in the U.S., suffered big losses amid mounting concerns over the pace of inflation and Fed policy tightening.

INTO TECH: Technology companies accounted for a big slice of the market's gains in early trading. Intuit rose $3.61, or 2.1 percent, to $176.93.

FINANCIALS FAVORED: Shares in banks and other financial companies rose. Banks can benefit from rising bond yields, which allow them to charge higher interest rates on loans. Bank of New York Mellon picked up 92 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $57.37.

ENERGIZED: Investors bid up shares in Chesapeake Energy after the company's latest quarterly results exceeded analysts' estimates. The stock climbed 35 cents, or 13.3 percent, to $2.98.

RENT THIS: Strong earnings also gave Avis Budget Group shares a boost. The car rental company added $5.34, or 13.7 percent, to $44.30.

TUNING OUT: Roku slumped 21.5 percent after the video streaming device company's latest guidance disappointed analysts. The stock lost $10.99 to $40.114.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 26 cents to $61.94 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 20 cents to $65.62 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slid to 106.85 yen from 107.78 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.2331 from $1.2300.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe were lower. Germany's DAX fell 0.6 percent, while the CAC 40 in France lost 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares declined 0.9 percent after figures showed the British economy did not grow as strongly as initially thought during 2017. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slumped 1.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi shed 0.6 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.5 percent.