US stocks edge higher in early trading; oil heads lower

by: ALEX VEIGA, AP Business Writer

Banks led U.S. stocks modestly higher in morning trading Monday, extending the market’s gains from last week. Technology companies also were among the biggest gainers, while utilities and real estate stocks lagged. Oil prices headed lower.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,506 as of 11:21 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 73 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,341. Both indexes closed at record highs on Friday. The Nasdaq composite added 24 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,472. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 8 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,439.

BANK ON THIS: Investors sent shares in banks and other financial companies higher. Citigroup added $1.23, or 1.8 percent, to $70.27, while Morgan Stanley rose 77 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $47.37.

TECH RALLY: Technology stocks were also among the big gainers. Advanced Micro Devices climbed 68 cents, or 5.4 percent, to $13.20. Chipmaker Nvidia rose $9.66, or 5.4 percent, to $189.78.

STRONG DEFENSE: Aerospace manufacturer Orbital ATK soared 20.8 percent after agreeing to be acquired by Northrop Grumman for $7.8 billion. Shares in Orbital gained $22.91 to $132.95. Northrop added $3.85, or 1.4 percent, to $270.88.

DONE DEAL: Silver Spring Networks surged 23.8 percent after the energy networking platform provider agreed to be acquired by Itron in a deal the companies valued at $830 million. Silver Spring shares gained $3.10 to $16.10. Itron climbed $1.15, or 1.6 percent, to $73.95.

TOY TROUBLE: Mattel and Hasbro slumped following published reports saying that Toys R Us may file for bankruptcy protection before this holiday season. Mattel slid 62 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $15.24, while Hasbro fell $2.04, or 2.2 percent, to $92.80.

ON THE RADAR: Investors were looking ahead to the latest two-day policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve, which was set to begin Tuesday. Traders will be listening for indications on the timing for the next rate hike and when the Fed might start shrinking its multitrillion-dollar stockpile of bonds. Forecasters expect the Fed to leave rates unchanged and stick to plans to raise rates in December. Traders also will be monitoring President Donald Trump’s speech at the United Nations on Tuesday.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.22 percent from 2.20 percent late Friday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $49.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dropped 64 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $49.33 in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.53 yen from 110.88 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1955 from $1.1938.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Global stock markets were mostly higher. In Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 0.4 percent, while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.2 percent. London’s FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.3 percent, while Seoul’s Kospi gained 1.3 percent. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 rose 0.4 percent. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

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