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Friday August 17th, 2018 10:39PM

US stock indexes head for best weekly gain since March

By The Associated Press
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U.S. stock indexes veered mostly higher in late-afternoon trading, on track to extend the market's strong gains for the week. Health care stocks climbed as investors sized up new policy remarks from President Donald Trump. Those gains outweighed losses in technology companies. Energy stocks also declined as crude oil prices closed lower.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index added 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,726 as of 3:32 p.m. Eastern Time. The benchmark index is on track for its best weekly gain since early March with an increase of 2.4 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 70 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,810. The Nasdaq fell 9 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,395. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,606.

THE QUOTE: "The market is looking forward to the next ingredient that's going to push it up or down as you get through earnings," Jeff Zipper, managing director at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management.

HEALTH SECTOR RALLY: Investors seemed to shrug off the Trump administration's latest policy proposals aimed at controlling drug prices. Health care stocks continued to move higher after President Donald Trump outlined some of the details in the plan Friday afternoon. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals jumped 8.1 percent to $312.33 and Express Scripts gained 3.8 percent to $73.62.

"Trump had a choice today: To seek disruptive fundamental reform or to embrace more incremental steps," Terry Haines, macro research analyst at Evercore ISI, wrote in a research note Friday. "Trump chose the incremental over the disruptive, which is the decisive factor for markets today."

GOOD QUARTER: Trade Desk vaulted 41.2 percent to $74.44 after the digital advertising platform company raised its annual forecasts after a strong first quarter.

REVIEW THIS: Yelp fell 7.7 percent to $44.08 after the online review portal gave an outlook for its current quarter fell short of analysts' expectations.

BAD LOOK: TiVo slid 1.1 percent to $13.90 after the digital video recording company took a bigger-than-expected loss and reported weak revenue.

UNDER SCRUTINY: Symantec slumped 32.2 percent to $19.79 after the security software company revealed an internal investigation that could delay its annual report. The company also said the matter has been referred to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Symantec also gave weak profit forecasts.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 66 cents to settle at $70.70 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 35 cents to close at $77.12. Oil futures have remained near their highest level since 2014 this week following the Trump administration's decision to re-impose sanctions Iran, the world's fifth-biggest oil producer.

The drop in oil prices weighed on energy stocks Friday. Range Resources lost 3.1 percent to $14.31.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose 2.97 percent from 2.96 percent late Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 109.29 yen from 109.37 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1946 from $1.1927.

METALS: Gold fell $1.60 to $1,320.70 an ounce. Silver dropped 1 cent to $16.75 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $3.11 a pound.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: European stock indexes were mostly lower after a strong rally saw many indexes strike multi-week highs. Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 slid 0.1 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 1.2 percent and South Korea's Kospi added 0.6 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.0 percent.

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