Stocks Move Higher, Led by Technology and Banks

NEW YORK (AP) -
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Stocks are climbing in midday trading Friday as investors respond to encouraging corporate news and dealmaking. The gains were broad. Eight of the 10 sectors of the Standard and Poor’s 500 index rose, led by banks and technology companies.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 111 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17,537 at 12:13 p.m. Eastern time. The S&P 500 index rose 15 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,055. The Nasdaq composite climbed 61 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,774.

IN THE CHIPS: Applied Materials jumped $2.50, or nearly 13 percent, to $22.51 after the maker of chipmaking equipment reported earnings ahead of analysts’ forecasts.

IN THE SOUP: Campbell Soup dropped $3.96, or 6 percent, to $60.02 after reporting third-quarter sales that fell short of Wall Street expectations. The company partly blamed challenges in its V8 beverages business and problems with its fresh carrot supply.

DEAL NEWS: Interoil jumped $12.31, or 39 percent, to $43.96 after rival Oil Search announced a deal to buy the company for $2.2 billion. The deal still needs approval by shareholders.

GAP HIGHER: Gap rose 58 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $17.86 after announcing late Thursday that it’s closing 75 Old Navy and Banana Republic stores outside North America. The announcement came as the clothes retailer reported a 47 percent drop in first-quarter profits and falling revenue.

FED IN FOCUS: Investors have been spooked by Wednesday’s release of minutes of the last Federal Reserve meeting that suggested the central bank may raise interest rates in June. But Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for Wells Capital Management, thinks the market should welcome talk of a rate increase because it shows the economy is strengthening. “The economy is good enough that even the Fed thinks it might be able to raise rates,” he said. “Job creation is there, unemployment is low.”

EUROPE REBOUNDS: Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.7 percent while Germany’s DAX rose 1.2 percent. France’s CAC 40 advanced 1.7 percent.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi was flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.8 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. oil fell 14 cents at $48.53 a barrel in New York, and Brent, used to price international oils, was unchanged at $48.81 a barrel in London.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.84 percent from 1.85 percent late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1212 from $1.1202, while the dollar rose to 110.45 yen from 109.89 yen.