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Thursday November 23rd, 2017 3:30PM

US stocks edge higher as health care companies rise

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are slightly higher Thursday as health care companies rise. AbbVie jumped after it reached a deal with a competitor that would delay competition for its anti-inflammatory treatment Humira, the biggest-selling drug in the world. Technology companies and banks are also up.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,509 as of 3:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 47 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,388. The Nasdaq composite shed 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,449. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 4 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,488. The Russell 2000 is at all-time highs and is coming off its biggest daily gain in six months.

September is historically a weak month for stocks, as the S&P 500 falls about 0.5 percent in September on average. But the index is up 1.5 percent this month, on track for its sixth consecutive monthly gain.

HEALTH CARE GAINS: Drugmaker AbbVie climbed after it resolved a patent dispute over Amgen's version of AbbVie's drug Humira, which is the source of most of its revenue. Amgen agreed not to begin selling its version of the anti-inflammatory medicine in Europe until October 2018, and the U.S. version won't go on the market until Jan. 31, 2023.

The settlement would mean billions of dollars in additional sales for AbbVie, which reported $16 billion in Humira sales in 2016. Its stock gained $4.59, or 5.4 percent, to $89.34 and Amgen rose 30 cents to $185.18.

ABBOTT APPROVAL: Abbott Laboratories jumped after the Food and Drug Administration approved its FreeStyle Libre Flash glucose monitoring system for adults with Type 1 diabetes. The product uses a sensor inserted below the skin to measure blood glucose. Analysts say Abbott could have a competitive edge because the FDA did not advise patients to take samples of their blood to confirm the system's readings.

Abbott rose $1.51, or 2.9 percent, to $53.66. DexCom, which gets all its revenue from selling its own blood glucose monitoring system, plunged $22.70, or 33.6 percent, to $44.77 in heavy trading.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude gave up an early gain and fell 58 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $51.56 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, fell 49 cents to $57.41 per barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline lost 2 cents to $1.63 a gallon. Heating oil fell 1 cent to $1.83 a gallon. Natural gas slid 4 cents to $3.02 per 1,000 cubic feet.

WELL SEASONED: Spice maker McCormick raised its profit and revenue estimates after it beat expectations in the fiscal third quarter. Its stock gained $4.89, or 5.1 percent, to $101.35.

BREWING UP CHANGE: Tea and seasonings maker Hain Celestial Group jumped after the company appointed six new members to its board after talks with investor Engaged Capital. That means directors backed by Engaged will make up a majority on the board, as three of Hain's current directors will leave the board in November. Hain Celestial rose 48 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $40.91.

RITE AID GOES WRONG: Drugstore chain Rite Aid dropped after its quarterly revenue fell short of Wall Street's forecasts. The stock lost 26 cents, or 11.2 percent, to $2.03. Earlier this month the company agreed to sell almost half of its stores to rival Walgreens for $4.38 billion, but the slimmed-down deal was smaller than investors had hoped.

BONDS: Bond prices rebounded from an early slump. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.31 percent.

METALS: Gold inched up 90 cents to $1,288.70 an ounce. Silver added 2 cents to $16.85 an ounce. Copper rose 5 cents to $2.98 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 112.41 yen from 112.75 yen. The euro rose to $1.1789 from $1.1756.

OVERSEAS: The German DAX gained 0.4 percent and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.2 percent. In Britain the FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent. Japan's Nikkei index rose 0.5 percent and in South Korea the Kospi made a tiny gain. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 0.8 percent.

___

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, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care, AP Business - Utilities
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