Tech and High-Growth Stocks Take U.S. Indexes Higher

NEW YORK (AP) -
stocks, markets, wall street, dow, s&p

U.S. stocks are climbing Friday and technology companies and consumer-focused companies are leading the gains. Optimism over economic growth is boosting industrial and energy companies, along with banks and makers of basic materials.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 24 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,666 as of noon Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 217 points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,770. The Nasdaq composite rose 80 points, or 1.1 percent, to 7,153. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 16 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,481.

MIXED TECH: Hard-drive maker Western Digital jumped 6.1 percent to $42.58 after the company said it expects business to improve in the second half of its fiscal year. That overshadowed a weaker-than-expected second quarter. Competitor Seagate Technology also gained 5.4 percent to $43.20.

Those gains outweighed disappointing quarterly results and a weak outlook from the world’s largest chipmaker, Intel. The company is also still without a permanent CEO, following Brian Krzanich’s resignation in June. Shares fell 6.3 percent to $46.61.

Other tech stocks climbed. Apple rose 2.6 percent and Microsoft picked up 1.3 percent.

FED CAUTION: The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Federal Reserve might soon halt the shrinking of its bond portfolio. The Fed bought trillions of dollars in bonds following the recession in 2008 to help keep interest rates low and aid an economic recovery. It started gradually letting its portfolio shrink recently, but investors are concerned that will tighten credit conditions, which could slow economic growth.

CAFFEINE RUSH: Starbucks shares jumped 3.6 percent to $67.10 after the company reported revenue and profit growth with the help of a strong year-end shopping season. The results topped expectations and the company gave an upbeat outlook for the year. Other consumer-focused companies also moved higher. Amazon added 1.4 percent to $1,667 and Home Depot climbed 1.6 percent to $180.09.

GROW ON: Industrial companies benefited from greater optimism about future economic growth. Boeing rose 1.8 percent to $364.78 and General Electric gained 3.9 percent to $9.13. Among banks, Citigroup rose 2.4 percent to $64.19.

High-dividend stocks lagged the rest of the market. Investors tend to prefer “defensive” stocks like utilities and household-goods makers when they are more fearful about the economy.

Bond prices also fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.74 percent from 2.71 percent.

TAKEN ILL: Abbvie fell 6.3 percent to $80.46 after the company said international sales of its drug Humira weakened in response to growing competition in key markets including Europe. AbbVie gets most of its revenue from Humira, which is the top-selling prescription medication in the world in terms of revenue.

Cowen & Co. analyst Steve Scala said Humira sales outside the U.S. were worse than expected

BUMPY FLIGHT: Airlines stocks were jolted after widespread delays were reported at LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International in New Jersey. The Federal Aviation Administration said the cause was a “slight increase in sick leave” at East Coast air traffic control centers in Jacksonville, Florida, and Washington D.C.

The month-long partial shutdown of the federal government means air-traffic controllers and other FAA employees are working without pay or being furloughed.

JetBlue lost 1.4 percent to $17.86 after a strong gain the day before, and Alaska Air fell 3.6 percent to $63.39 following its fourth-quarter report. American surged 4.1 percent to $35.04.

OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 rose 1.1 percent, while Germany’s DAX gained 1.3 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1 percent, South Korea’s Kospi surged 1.5 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.6 percent.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil rose 0.6 percent to $53.47 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 0.7 percent to $61.43 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 109.58 yen from 109.53 yen. The euro rose to $1.1408 from $1.1389.