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VOL. 41 | NO. 51 | Friday, December 22, 2017
US stock indexes edge higher in early trading; oil rising
U.S. stock indexes were up slightly in light trading early Thursday as technology companies posted more gains. Financial stocks were also moving higher as bond yields rose. Energy companies rose as crude oil and natural gas prices headed higher. Health care and industrials stocks lagged.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1 point, or 0.04 percent, to 2,683 as of 10:08 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 39 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,813. The Nasdaq added less than 1 point to 6,940. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was down less than 1 point to 1,543.
TECH GAINS: Technology stocks were posting solid gains. Apple picked up $1.13, or 0.7 percent, to $171.13.
FINANCIALS CLIMB: Banks and other financial companies rose as bond yields rebounded. Capital One Financial added 68 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $100.43.
ROUGH ROAD: JB Hunt Transportation Services slid 2.1 percent after the trucking company issued a disappointing fourth-quarter profit forecast. JB Hunt expects to take about $40 million in one-time charges for the quarter. The stock shed $2.46 to $113.01.
OIL & GAS: Benchmark U.S. crude slid 8 cents to $59.56 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, was down 7 cents to $65.92 per barrel in London. Natural gas prices climbed as temperatures dropped in the U.S. Natural gas rose 14 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $2.88 per 1,000 cubic feet.
BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.43 percent from 2.41 percent late Wednesday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar declined to 112.86 yen from 113.26 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.1949 from $1.1899.
THE BITCOIN TRADE: The price of bitcoin fell 5.9 percent to $14,476 as of 10:08 a.m. ET, according to the tracking site CoinDesk. Bitcoin futures on the Cboe Futures Exchange slid 5.1 percent to $14,180. South Korea's government announced additional measures Thursday to curb speculative trading of virtual currencies in the country, including a ban on opening anonymous accounts.
MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major indexes in Europe were mostly lower. Germany's DAX slipped 0.2 percent, while France's CAC 40, lost 0.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 erased earlier gains to finish 0.6 percent lower. South Korea's Kospi surged 1.3 percent after government data showed strong gains in retail sales and industrial output last month. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 0.9 percent. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent.