U.S. Stocks Solidly Higher in Afternoon Trading; Oil Rising

(AP) —
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(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

U.S. stocks on pace to notch solid gains Thursday afternoon on the last day of trading ahead of the holiday weekend. Technology stocks, which were big decliners earlier in the week, powered much of the market’s climb. Banks, industrial companies and health care stocks also helped lift the market. Investors were weighing the latest company earnings and new economic data showing spending by U.S. consumers rose modestly last month.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 30 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,635 as of 1:32 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 297 points, or 1.3 percent, to 24,145. The Nasdaq added 81 points, or 1.2 percent, to 7,030. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 18 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,531. The market is coming off a two-day losing streak and is on course to end the month with a loss. Thursday also marks the last day of trading for the first quarter. The S&P 500 is on track to finish the quarter with a loss for the first time since the third quarter of 2015.

TECH REBOUND: A rally in technology stocks helped the sector recoup some of its big losses from earlier in the week. Facebook was among the gainers, its shares adding 3.7 percent. The social media giant, which has taken a beating in recent days over privacy concerns, rose $5.73 percent, to $158.76.

FASHIONABLE RESULTS: PVH, which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, climbed 5.2 percent after its own results beat expectations. The stock gained $7.51 to $151.53.

TOASTWORTHY: Beverage maker Constellation Brands rose 3.8 percent after reporting a solid quarter. The maker of Corona beer and Robert Mondavi wines added $8.35 to $228.84.

WATCH THIS: Movado Group jumped 16.2 percent after the watch maker’s fourth-quarter earnings exceeded financial analysts’ forecasts. The company also issued a better-than-expected outlook for the year. Its shares gained $5.38 to $38.58.

GAME OVER: Shares in Gamestop slumped 9 percent after the retailer issued a disappointing full-year revenue and earnings outlook, which overshadowed fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street’s expectations. The stock slid $1.28 to $12.87.

FACEBOOK FALLOUT: Acxiom shares tumbled 16.9 percent after the marketing data firm said that it has been informed by Facebook that the social network will stop using third-party data providers like Acxiom over the next several months. Acxiom said it doesn’t expect the move to affect its fiscal 2018 guidance, but noted it expects its total revenue and profitability to be negatively affected by as much as $25 million. Acxiom declined $4.73 to $23.32.

TRADE TENSIONS: Beijing again sought to head off a trade war with the U.S., urging Washington to abandon plans to impose tariffs that it warned could trigger a chain reaction disrupting global trade. Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng vowed that China will “fight to the end” to defend its interests, in response to President Donald Trump’s plans to hike tariffs on $60 billion in Chinese goods in a dispute over technology policy. Gao repeated earlier statements that China is open to talks, but wouldn’t confirm reports they’ve already started.

EYE ON CONSUMERS: The Commerce Department said Americans increased their spending 0.2 percent in February, while their incomes rose 0.4 percent, boosted by increased wages and business owners’ income. The healthy income gains could spur more spending in the coming months.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 42 cents to $64.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 42 cents to $69.18 per barrel in London.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.74 percent from 2.78 percent late Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 106.45 yen from 106.88 yen on Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.2293 from $1.2313.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX added 1.3 percent and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.7 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent after a sharp drop in the yen made shares cheaper for foreign buyers. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.7 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.2 percent.

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