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Thursday November 15th, 2018 3:27AM

US stocks near another gain; Pepsi rallies on solid results

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are rising Tuesday afternoon and the benchmark S&P 500 is on track for its highest close in five months. Household goods companies rise after PepsiCo reports solid second-quarter results. Technology companies are also higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index added 10 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,794 as of 3:40 p.m. Eastern time. The benchmark index is on pace for its fourth gain in a row and seventh in the last eight days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 151 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,927. The Nasdaq composite picked up 3 points to 7,759.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 9 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,695. That index had climbed almost 4 percent over the last five days. About half the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange traded lower.

The U.S. and China are now in open conflict over trade, but Wall Street has focused instead on last week's strong jobs report for June as well as company earnings reports. Major U.S. banks including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup will announce their results Friday morning.

DRINK UP: PepsiCo's beverage sales are still struggling as the company tries to adjust to Americans' changing drinking habits. The maker of Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Tropicana said sales in North America fell, but its earnings were better than expected and analysts were pleased with its results in other markets.

The stock rose 4.4 percent to $112.47.

THE QUOTE: Invesco Chief Global Market Strategist Kristina Hooper said investors are taking a risk by overlooking how damaging the trade war might get and focusing on company profits instead.

"This is all about pushing aside that which is messy and difficult to calculate," she said. "It's far easier to ignore it."

Hooper said the taxes the U.S. placed on imported washing machines earlier this year have clearly hurt sales, and there are signs the newer tariffs are affecting business spending.

ENERGY: U.S. crude oil rose 0.4 percent to $74.11 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 1 percent to $78.86 a barrel in London.

Wholesale gasoline added 0.5 percent to $2.16 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1.2 percent to $2.22 a gallon. Natural gas fell 1.4 percent to $2.79 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Energy companies continued to rise. Exxon Mobil rose 1 percent to $83.76 and Chevron picked up 1.3 percent to $127.68.

GUT RENO: The shakeup at Lowe's continued as the home improvement chain said its chief operating officer and several other executives are leaving because their jobs are being eliminated or assigned to other executives. Marvin Ellison became Lowe's CEO on July 2 and the company's chief financial officer announced his retirement in June.

Lowe's climbed 2.2 percent to $99.05.

JAMMED: J.M. Smucker said it will sell its U.S. baking business, including Pillsbury. Brynwood Partners will buy the division for $375 million. Smucker said the business had about $370 million in sales over its last fiscal year and the sale will reduce its adjusted profit by 25-30 cents a share this year. The stock declined 1.6 percent to $109.13.

BONDS: Bond prices were little changed after a sharp drop one day earlier. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held steady at 2.86 percent.

Utilities and phone companies recovered some of Monday's losses. Those stocks pay large dividends, and investors often view them as alternatives to bonds. When bond yields rise, the big dividend payers become less appealing to investors who are seeking a source of steady income.

BANKS SINK: Financial companies have fared far worse than the rest of the market this year, and that continued Tuesday. Citigroup fell 1 percent to $68.26 and insurer MetLife lost 1.1 percent to $44.96.

METALS: Gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,255.40 an ounce. Silver lost 0.3 percent to $16.09 an ounce. Copper sank 0.4 percent to $2.84 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.28 yen from 110.82 yen. The euro fell to $1.1745 from $1.1749.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 gained 0.7 percent and the German DAX added 0.5 percent. The FTSE 100 index of British shares rose 0.1 percent. The FTSE 100 has rallied over the last few days as investors saw signs Britain would keep closer trade ties with the European Union after it leaves the EU.

A cabinet meeting held Friday by Prime Minister Theresa May yielded plan that favors closer trade ties including a partial free trade zone.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.7 percent and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.4 percent. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng dipped less than 0.1 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
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