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Sunday September 24th, 2017 8:19AM

Retailers and materials companies lead stock indexes higher

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are edging to new highs Monday as retailers and clothing companies rise. Mining and basic materials companies are gaining ground as the dollar remains weak. Small companies and large technology firms are also advancing. Stock indexes closed at record levels Friday and are adding to their gains.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,461 as of 1:25 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 13 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,651. The Nasdaq composite gained 9 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,322, which put that index on pace to set a record high. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,432.

Stocks climbed last week and reached all-time highs after a weak retail sales report gave investors more hope that the Federal Reserve will be cautious about raising interest rates. The S&P 500, Dow and Russell indexes all closed at record highs. The Nasdaq has rallied almost 4 percent in the last seven days to recover the losses it sustained when technology companies went into a slump in early June.

MATERIAL GAINS: Gold and copper producer Freeport-McMoRan rose 34 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $13.03 and gold producer Newmont Mining advanced 44 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $33.74. Paints and coatings maker Sherwin-Williams picked up $3.60, or 1 percent, to $360.07.

Precious metals prices rose as the dollar remained weaker than it's been in months. The dollar slipped to 112.73 yen from 112.56 yen. The euro rose to $1.1474 from $1.1467. The ICE US dollar is at its lowest level since early September. It's fallen every month since March.

Gold futures gained $6.20 to $1,233.70 an ounce. Silver climbed 16 cents, or 1 percent, to $16.10 an ounce. Copper gained 3 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $2.72 a pound.

BLACKROCK ROCKED: Investment firm BlackRock dipped after it reported weaker-than-expected results in the second quarter. The company's net income and revenue both fell short of Wall Street forecasts, and its stock declined $13.21, or 3 percent, to $425.13.

LOST IN THE MAIL: FedEx said customers are still experiencing "widespread service and invoicing delays" after its TNT Express business was hit by a cyberattack in late June. FedEx TNT shipping volumes are down and it does not know when its services will back up to speed. The company said its annual results will take a hit because of reduced shipments and the cost of responding to the attack. FedEx added that it does not have insurance related to cyberattacks.

The company's stock fell $4.99, or 2.3 percent, to $214.07.

CHARMIN MAKER SQUEEZED: Activist investor Nelson Peltz is attempting to secure a seat on the board at consumer products giant Procter & Gamble. Peltz's Trian Fund Management, which owns $3.3 billion of P&G's stock, said the company's financial results over the last decade have been disappointing. Over the last few years Procter & Gamble has focused on its bigger brands and shed some smaller ones, and that's affected its overall sales and stock price. The company's products include Tide detergent, Charmin toilet paper, Crest toothpaste and Dawn soaps.

Its stock added 59 cents to $87.69.

BLUE APRON'S KITCHEN NIGHTMARE: Meal kit company Blue Apron tumbled after The Sunday Times reported that Amazon is getting ready to launch its own meal-prep business. The British newspaper reported that Amazon registered a trademark for a food kit business.

Blue Apron filed to go public about two weeks before Amazon agreed to buy the Whole Foods grocery chain. The company went public June 29 with an IPO that priced at $10 a share, less than the company initially expected, and its stock has fallen further since then. On Monday it dropped 84 cents, or 11.4 percent, to $6.52 while Amazon added $8.68 to $1,010.49.

DIAMOND DEAL: Diamond producer Dominion Diamond agreed to be bought by Washington Cos. for $14.25 a share, or about $1.2 billion. Dominion said in March that it was considering strategic options including a potential sale. The company's stock gained 57 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $14.06.

WATER PIK PICKED UP: Church & Dwight, the consumer products maker behind Arm & Hammer baking soda and other brands, said it will buy showerhead and water-powered toothbrush maker Water Pik for $1 billion. Church & Dwight stock added 26 cents to $52.8.

STICKER SHOCK: Label manufacturer Multi-Color Corp. said it will pay $1.3 billion in cash and stock to buy the labels business of Constantia Flexibles. Multi-Color said the deal will raise its annual revenue to $1.6 billion. Its shares declined $6.22, or 7.5 percent, to $76.33.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 33 cents to $46.21 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 23 cents to $48.68 a barrel in London. Energy companies traded higher.

BONDS: Bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.31 percent from 2.33 percent.

OVERSEAS: London's FTSE 100 index rose 0.3 percent while the French CAC 40 shed 0.1 percent. Germany's DAX finished 0.4 percent lower. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.3 percent and the Kospi of South Korea added 0.4 percent. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.

___

AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

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