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Wednesday November 22nd, 2017 3:11PM

US stocks edge higher in early trading; crude oil gains

By The Associated Press

U.S. stocks edged higher in early trading Friday as investors sized up quarterly results from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and other big banks. Big-dividend stocks like utilities and real estate companies led the gainers, while financial sector firms declined the most. Retailers rose despite new data indicating retail sales declined in June for the second month in a row.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,451 as of 10:22 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,572. The Nasdaq composite added 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,286. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was up less than 1 point to 1,425.

ECONOMIC SNAPSHOTS: Investors were also weighing data on retail sales and inflation at the consumer level Friday. The Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.2 percent in June as Americans curtailed spending at restaurants, department stores and gasoline stations. That followed a 0.1 percent drop in May. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said U.S. consumer prices were flat in June, the latest evidence that inflation remains muted.

QUARTERLY RESULTS: Several big banks kicked off the second-quarter earnings season. Among them were JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, each of which posted results that beat Wall Street's expectations. Even so, financial shares were broadly lower as bond yields fell. Lower bond yields force interest rates on loans lower, which makes it harder for banks to make money from lending. JPMorgan fell $1.47, or 1.6 percent, to $91.63, while Citigroup slid 66 cents, or 1 percent, to $66.36. Wells Fargo lost $1.38, or 2.5 percent, to $54.22.

HOT FOR TECH: Technology companies were among the big gainers. NetApp rose $2.11, or 5.1 percent, to $43.50.

RETAILERS RALLY: Despite the June decline in retail sales, investors were bidding up shares in several department store chains. Ulta Beauty climbed $5.93, or 2.3 percent, to $263.33, while Gap rose 55 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $23.33. Best Buy added $1.38, or 2.5 percent, to $56.04.

BONDS: Bond prices rose sharply. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.30 percent from 2.35 percent late Thursday.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 54 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $46.65 per barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 50 cents, or 1 percent, to $48.92 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 112.39 yen from 113.23 yen late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1456 from $1.1406.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.3 percent, while the CAC 40 in France was 0.2 percent lower. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 0.3 percent. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi rose 0.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index inched up 0.2 percent.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Financial Services, AP Business - Utilities
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