FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2014, file photo, an American flag flies in front of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Technology companies help drive US stocks broadly higher

February 22, 2018 - 10:19 am

Technology and industrials companies helped drive U.S. stocks broadly higher in morning trading Thursday. Bonds yields declined after spiking to four-year highs a day earlier amid rekindled fears of higher inflation and interest rates. The market is coming off a two-day losing streak.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 21 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,722 as of 11:07 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 264 points, or 1.1 percent, to 25,062. The Nasdaq added 50 points, or 0.7 percent, to 7,268. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 9 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,541.

THE QUOTE: "The yields easing back a little bit is probably reassuring people on a very short-term kind of basis," said Erik Wytenus, global investment specialist, J.P. Morgan Private Bank. "That big, nasty intraday reversal yesterday was probably a little bit excessive."

BONDS WATCH: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.91 percent from a day earlier, when it climbed to 2.95 percent, the highest level since January 2014. The spike in bond yields came after the Federal Reserve's minutes from its January policy meeting showed bullish sentiment among policymakers, confirming their intention to raise interest rates this year.

Higher yields generally hurt stock prices by making bonds more attractive compared to equities. They also make it more expensive for people and companies to borrow money. Earlier this month, global stock markets, particularly those in the U.S., suffered big losses amid mounting concerns over the pace of inflation and Fed policy tightening.

INTO TECH: Technology companies accounted for a big slice of the market's gains in early trading. PayPal rose $1.44, or 1.9 percent, to $77.95.

INDUSTRIALS FAVORED: Shares in industrials companies rose. United Technologies was one of the big gainers a day after the CEO said the company is looking into the possibility of splitting up the industrial conglomerate into three separate businesses. The stock picked up $4.10, or 3.2 percent, to $133.36.

ENERGIZED: Investors bid up shares in Chesapeake Energy after the company's latest quarterly results exceeded analysts' estimates. The stock climbed 47 cents, or 17.9 percent, to $3.10.

RENT THIS: Strong earnings also gave Avis Budget Group shares a boost. The car rental company added $4.84, or 12.4 percent, to $43.80.

TUNING OUT: Roku slumped 15.5 percent after the video streaming device company's latest guidance disappointed analysts. The stock lost $7.94 to $43.17.

SAD, SAD SONG: Pandora Media slid 9.4 percent after the music streaming company's first-quarter revenue guidance fell short of Wall Street's estimates. The stock gave up 46 cents to $4.41.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude reversed an early gain, sliding 6 cents to $61.62 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 24 cents to $65.66 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slid to 106.92 yen from 107.78 yen on Wednesday. The euro strengthened to $1.2318 from $1.2300.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe were lower. Germany's DAX fell 0.5 percent, while the CAC 40 in France lost 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares declined 0.7 percent after figures showed the British economy did not grow as strongly as initially thought during 2017. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slumped 1.1 percent and South Korea's Kospi shed 0.6 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.5 percent.

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