US Stock Indexes Edge Higher In Morning Trading; Oil Slips

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stock indexes edged higher in light trading Wednesday morning, recouping some of their modest losses from a day earlier. Technology and health care stocks were among the biggest gainers. Homebuilders notched gains following a report showing pending U.S. home sales edge up last month. Energy stocks declined as crude oil prices headed lower.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,684 as of 11:06 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 32 points, or 0.1 percent, to 24,778. The Nasdaq added 17 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,954. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,549.

THE QUOTE: "Trading is obviously very light, but the market is certainly going out on a high as we head into the end of the year," said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.

TECH GAINS: Technology stocks were posting solid gains. Qorvo led the pack, adding $1.62, or 2.5 percent, to $67.52.

A HEALTHY TURN: Several health sector stocks notched gains in morning trading. Incyte picked up $1.24, or 1.3 percent, to $96.64.

HOME SWEET HOME: The National Association of Realtors said signed contracts to buy U.S. homes increased 0.2 percent in November. Pending sales contracts are a barometer of future purchases. Homebuilder shares were broadly higher after the report, led by LGI Homes. The stock gained $1.90, or 2.6 percent, to $74.89.

ENERGY SLUMP: Declining crude oil prices weighed on oil producers and other energy companies. Devon Energy fell 68 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $41.90.

TAKING A SWING: Callaway Golf tumbled 5.3 percent after the company said it invested another $20 million in entertainment company Topgolf, giving it a 14-percent stake. Callaway lost 80 cents to $14.26.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 23 cents to $59.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, slipped 44 cents to $66.02 per barrel in London.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.44 percent from 2.48 percent late Tuesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 113.29 yen from 113.18 yen on Tuesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1894 from $1.1867.

THE BITCOIN TRADE: The price of bitcoin fell 3.2 percent to $15,241 as of 11:06 a.m. ET, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange slid 3.4 percent to $15,280. The futures contracts allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe were mostly higher. Germany's DAX wads flat, while France's CAC 40 edged up 1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.4 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up nearly 0.1 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was virtually unchanged. South Korea's Kospi added 0.4 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched 0.1 percent higher.

-By Alex Veiga, AP Business Writer

Categories: Finance, Today’s Business News