Business / Politics / U.S. News

US stocks extend gains to a 5th day as tech companies rise

FILE – In this Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, file photo, an American flag hangs on the front of the New York Stock Exchange on an evening, in New York. Global stock markets traded in narrow ranges Wednesday, May 24, 2017, with investors brushing aside Moody’s decision to cut China’s debt rating. (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are up for the fifth consecutive day Wednesday as technology and high-dividend companies move higher. The gains are slight as retailers including jewelry and car parts sellers are falling and energy companies decline with oil prices. Investors are waiting for the Federal Reserve to release minutes from its meeting earlier this month.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index edged up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,399 as of 12:20 p.m. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 20,959. The S&P 500 and the Dow average are nearly back to their closing prices from last Tuesday, before Wednesday’s broad sell-off.

The Nasdaq composite rose 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,147. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks held steady at 1,381.

TECH: Intuit, which makes software including TurboTax and QuickBooks, had a stronger quarter than investors expected and Wall Street was also pleased with its forecasts. Its stock gained $9.17, or 7.1 percent, to $138.32. Elsewhere hard drive maker Western Digital added $2.28, or 2.6 percent, to $90.31 and chipmaker Nvidia rose $1.78, or 1.3 percent, to $138.81.

LOWE’S SLOWS: Home improvement retailer Lowe’s stumbled after investors were unimpressed by its profit and sales, as a hefty charge cut into its earnings in the first quarter. Lowe’s shares fell $2.65, or 3.2 percent, to $79.69. Lowe’s stock is flat over the last year while rival Home Depot has jumped 16 percent. Home Depot added 16 cents to $154.99 Wednesday.

THE FED: This afternoon the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its meeting in May. The central bank did not raise interest rates, but investors will look for clues about its plans for interest rates and its view of the economy. Most investors think the Fed will increase rates again at its meeting in mid-June. It did that in December and in March.

MATERIAL WORLD: Makers of chemicals and other basic materials gained ground. Industrial gas company Praxair rose after it agreed to terms with Germany’s Linde. The companies said they would combine in an all-stock deal in December. Praxair picked up $3.10, or 2.4 percent, to $133.07.

Dow Chemical and DuPont, which are also planning to combine, both rose 1 percent.

BONDS: Bond prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.29 percent from 2.28 percent. High-dividend companies including real estate investment trusts and utilities traded higher. That was somewhat unusual, as those stocks often fall when bond yields increase because investors choose to buy bonds instead.

LOST ITS SHINE: Sales for jewelry retailer Tiffany weren’t as good as expected in the first quarter. The company changed CEOs in February as it struggled with competition from online retailers and had difficulty attracting younger customers. Its stock dropped $7.32, or 7.9 percent, to $85.82 and competitor Signet fell $4.82, or 8.3 percent, to $53.56.

PUMP THE BRAKES: Auto parts retailers fell again as Advance Auto Parts became the second company in the industry to report disappointing results for the most recent quarter. The company’s profit and sales fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts and its stock lost $5.45, or 3.9 percent, to $135.21. O’Reilly Automotive slipped $1.58 to $238.60.

The companies took sharp losses Tuesday after AutoZone reported a weak first quarter. That lead to AutoZone stock’s worst day since 2008, and it recovered $10.68, or 1.8 percent, to $592.08 on Wednesday. All three stocks have fallen hard this year.

LID POPS OFF: Struggling retailer Container Store Group surged after it reported solid fourth-quarter results and its outlook for the year pleased investors. The company also said it will cut $20 million in spending and its stock gained $1.68, or 40.5 percent, to $5.83. Container Store traded above $40 a share in early 2014, shortly after the company’s IPO, but it fell to under $4 earlier this month.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 30 cents to $51.17 per barrel in New York while Brent crude, used to price international oils, sank 34 cents to $53.81 a barrel in London. Oil prices have rallied lately as members of the OPEC cartel and other countries prepare to meet and discuss production. Those nations are expected to extend last year’s production cut in a concerted attempt to prevent oil prices from falling.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 112.03 yen from 111.76 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1174 from $1.1185.

OVERSEAS: The FTSE 100 index in Britain was up 0.3 percent and Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 percent. The CAC 40 in France was 0.2 percent lower. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong finished unchanged after Moody’s downgraded the Chinese government’s credit rating. The firm said it expects China’s financial strength to erode as debt rises, but its rating for the country is still relatively high. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.7 percent. The Kospi in South Korea gained 0.2 percent.


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at

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