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Tuesday August 11th, 2020 6:02AM

US stocks edge higher after 2 weeks of gains

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks edged higher in afternoon trading on Wall Street Monday following two weeks of gains.

Trading remained choppy as uncertainty continued over several ongoing trade disputes and their possible effect on economic growth.

Technology companies were among the early gainers. Qualcomm, Facebook and Netflix rose. Retailers also gained ground. Amazon and Hanesbrands climbed.

Utilities and makers of consumer products lagged the market as investors headed away from safe-play stocks to riskier holdings. Tyson Foods fell.

Financial companies were the biggest losers as bond yields slipped. Ameriprise Financial fell 3.4% and State Street fell 1.1%.

The muted gains mirror last week's pattern of choppy day-to-day trading as investors search for direction ahead of an interest rate decision by the Federal Reserve later this week.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.3% as of 2 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 63 points, or 0.2%, to 26,153. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.8%.

ANALYST'S TAKE: Investors' anxiety over the ongoing trade war continues hanging over the market.

The current impact from the spat between the U.S. and China isn't enough to spark a recession, but further escalations could, according to Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth for Glenmede.

"I think that's why investors are so focused on this trade issue," he said. "In a worst case scenario, we're talking about a 1.5% GDP impact."

The worst-case scenario would involve additional tariffs on Chinese goods along with other global tariffs, including the currently postponed actions against Mexico.

COSTLY PRESCRIPTION: Array BioPharma surged 57% after announcing that it had agreed to be bought by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for $11.4 billion.

Array currently makes an advanced skin cancer treatment and has a deep pipeline of cancer drugs in development. Pfizer makes a wide range of cancer and other drugs. It is the biggest U.S. drugmaker by revenue.

SURGING BID: New York auction house Sotheby's surged 58.3% after announcing its sale to Patrick Drahi, a media and telecom entrepreneur and art collector.

MORE DEALS: Other companies were also moving after announcing deals. Oilfield services company C&J Energy Services surged 24% after announcing it is being bought by rival Keane Group in an all-stock deal. Legacy Texas Financial Group rose 2.7% after it announced a $2.1 billion cash and stock sale to regional bank Prosperity Bancshares.

MISALIGNED STOCK: Align Technology fell 5.7% after the medical device maker ended discussions about a potential distribution deal with Straumann Group.

The company focuses on products for the dental industry. The deal was initially part of a patent dispute settlement with a unit of Straumann. Instead, Align will receive a $16 million payment.

THE CONTEXT: The S&P 500 eked out a slight 0.5% gain last week. That followed a 4.4% weekly gain. Investors have been swinging between risky and safe-play holdings on a lack of developments in the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. Jitters over trade disputes and their impact on global economic growth have created a volatile market.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Financial Markets, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture, AP Business - Poultry & Egg, AP Business - Health Care
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