FILE - This July 15, 2013, file photo, shows a sign for Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Banks, health care companies lead US stocks mostly higher

August 20, 2018 - 10:13 am

U.S. stocks moved mostly higher in early trading Monday, adding to the market's upbeat finish last week amid signs of progress in resolving the trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Gains in banks, health care and industrial companies outweighed losses in technology stocks. Oil prices rose.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 6 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,856 as of 10:06 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 114 points, or 0.5 percent, to 25,784. The Nasdaq composite fell 1 point to 7,814. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 5 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,697.

TRADE TENSIONS: Investors have been feeling cautiously optimistic about the prospects for an end to the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, which has led to costly, dueling tariffs between the two nations. Hopes rose late last week on news that China will send an envoy to Washington this month to discuss a way out of the standoff before President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet at multilateral events in November.

BANKING ON FINANCIALS: Banks and other financial stocks grabbed some of the biggest gains in early trading. Synchrony Financial added 2 percent to $30.99.

GETTING FIZZY: SodaStream jumped 9.7 percent to $142.43 after PepsiCo agreed to buy the Israeli fizzy drink maker for $3.2 billion.

ZAPPED: Tesla fell 2.3 percent to $298.35 after analysts at JPMorgan cut their price target on the electric car maker.

TECH SLIDE: Shares in technology companies lagged the broader market. Advanced Micro Devices fell 1.6 percent to $19.46.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.84 percent from 2.87 percent late Friday.

ENERGY: U.S. benchmark crude rose 14 cents to $66.03 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, added 41 cents to $72.24 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 110.42 yen from 110.60 yen late Friday. The euro weakened to $1.1430 from $1.1443.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX added 1.2 percent, while France's CAC 40 rose 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 gained 0.5 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gave up 0.3 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.1 percent. South Korea's Kospi was little changed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.4 percent. Shares also rose in Taiwan.

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