Financials, Tech Companies Lead US Stocks

U.S. stocks edged higher in early trading Monday, adding to the market’s five straight weeks of gains. Financial and technology stocks were had some of the biggest gains. Energy companies also rose as crude oil prices climbed. Utilities and real estate stocks lagged.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 4 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,557 as of 10:13 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average picked up 51 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,923. The Nasdaq composite gained 21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,627. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,509.

FINANCIALS BOOST: Banks and other financial companies led the market higher. Bank of America gained 44 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $26.27.

TECH GAINERS: Investors bid up shares in technology companies. Apple climbed $2.45, or 1.6 percent, to $159.44.

UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT: Ruby Tuesday climbed 18.8 percent after the struggling restaurant chain said has agreed to be acquired by NRD Capital in a deal valued by the companies at $335 million, or $2.40 a share, including debt and other items. The stock added 38 cents to $2.37.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: Nordstrom slumped 4.6 percent after the department store chain said it is temporarily shelving its bid to go private. The stock shed $1.98 to $40.67.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.30 percent from 2.27 percent late Friday.

ENERGY: Oil prices headed higher amid rising tensions in the Middle East as Iraqi federal forces moved into the disputed city of Kirkuk and seized oil fields, prompting a withdrawal by Kurdish forces. Benchmark U.S. crude oil picked up 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $52.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 87 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $58.04 a barrel in London.

Oil production companies were moving higher along with oil prices. Newfield Exploration rose $1.03, or 3.5 percent, to $30.68.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 111.81 yen from 111.89 yen on Friday. The euro weakened to $1.1799 from $1.1817.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Global stocks were mostly higher after finance leaders appealed over the weekend for a continuation of low-interest rate policies to keep economic recoveries on track. In Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent, while France’s CAC 40 gained 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 in London was flat. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 0.5 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 0.8 percent. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 percent, while the S&P ASX/200 added 0.6 percent. India’s Sensex picked up 0.6 percent. Shares in Southeast Asia were higher.

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