US Stocks Move Higher As Investors Weigh Company Earnings

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks rose on Wall Street in early trading Thursday as gains in banks and technology companies outweighed losses elsewhere in the market.

Bond yields rose above their recent lows, giving bank stocks a boost. Higher bond yields are good for banks because they can earn more income from the bonds they hold and they can charge higher interest rates on loans. SunTrust Banks rose 1.1 percent.

Accenture led technology sector companies higher after the consulting company's latest quarterly results topped Wall Street's forecasts. The stock was up 5.4 percent.

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Solid quarterly results from watch maker Movado Group, Calvin Klein parent company PVH and yoga wear retailer Lululemon Athletica also helped lift the market.

Several energy stocks headed lower along with oil prices after President Donald Trump tweeted that it is "very important that OPEC increase the flow of Oil," adding that world markets are fragile and the price of oil is getting "too high." Shares in Marathon Petroleum fell 1 percent.

The pickup in stocks came as Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators prepared for the latest round of talks aimed at ending a tariff war between the world's two biggest economies. Traders also had their eye on developments in the United Kingdom, with the countdown to Britain's departure from the EU looming on Friday and no deal on hand.

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Investors are also looking ahead to the next batch of corporate earnings reports, which start to roll in next week.

U.S. stocks are on track to finish the quarter with solid gains, though investors remain anxious over the slowing global economy and worrisome signals coming from the bond market.

After falling sharply since Friday, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose Thursday to 2.39 percent from 2.37 percent late Wednesday. That remained below the yield on the three-month Treasury bill, an unusual phenomenon that has preceded recessions in the past.

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KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 89 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,717 as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern Time. The S&P 500 gained 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq added 0.6 percent. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks picked up 0.7 percent.

Major indexes in Europe were headed higher.

TRADE TALKS: U.S. trade negotiators arrived in Beijing on Thursday for a new round of talks aimed at ending a tariff war over China's technology ambitions. Chinese and U.S. officials have suggested that progress has been made toward resolving the conflict, which has disrupted trade in everything from soybeans to medical equipment.

The talks were to begin with a working dinner Thursday and last the entire day Friday. Chinese officials are expected to return to the U.S. in early April.

RIGHT ON TIME: Movado jumped 20.3 percent after the watch maker reported strong earnings in its last quarter.

A GOOD LOOK: Shares in PVH vaulted 18.4 percent after the parent company of Calvin Klein and other brands turned in solid quarterly results.

NOT A STRETCH: Lululemon Athletica climbed 16.2 percent after the athletic apparel retailer posted better-than-expected quarterly results and issued a positive outlook.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 0.9 percent to $58.84 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gave up 0.9 percent to $66.63 a barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.78 yen from 110.36 yen on Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.1222 from $1.1263. The British pound fell to $1.3080 from $1.3262.


By AP reporter Alex Veiga


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