Stocks recovering, despite drop in price of oil

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks recovered from an early stumble Monday as investors were able to look past through another steep drop in the price of oil and renewed concerns about economic growth in China and the U.S. Oil and gas companies remained in the red.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,500 as of 3:30 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,944 and the Nasdaq composite added 19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,633.

OIL PROBLEMS: Crude oil went lower again after posting solid gains last week. The price of U.S. benchmark oil plunged $2, or 5.9 percent, to $31.62 a barrel in New York. Natural gas also fell about 6 percent.

Energy stocks fell in tandem with oil and gas prices, and the energy component of the S&P 500 lost 2 percent. Southwestern Energy declined 42 cents, or 5 percent, to $8.48, Transocean dropped 64 cents, or 6.2 percent, to $9.78 and Chesapeake Energy fell 19 cents, or 6 percent, to $3.20.

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CHINA MANUFACTURING: Global stocks and oil prices started to decline after a Chinese factory purchasing manager survey fell to 49.4 in January, the lowest level in more than three years. It’s the latest sign of weakness for the world’s second-largest economy. Numbers below 50 indicate contraction. Chinese stocks closed down 2 percent on the news.

FACTORY WORRIES: The economic data out of the U.S. did not help investor sentiment either. A survey of manufacturing activity in the U.S. came in at 48.2, below economists’ analysts.

RECOVERING FROM ILLNESS: Chipotle Mexican Grill rose $18.36, or 4 percent, to $472.97 after news reports said federal regulators planned to declare the E. coli outbreak at the restaurant chain to be over.

TWITTER CHATTER: Twitter jumped $1.02, or 6 percent, $17.82 following reports that the company is in talks with private equity firms to possibly acquire or invest in the Internet company.

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HEALTH CARE MERGERS: Shares of Alere jumped $16.83, or 45 percent, to $54.05 after Abbott Laboratories announced it was purchasing Alere, a health care company focused on diagnostics, for $5.8 billion. Abbot Labs shares rose 58 cents, or 2 percent, to $38.42.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.96 percent. The dollar fell to 121.07 yen from 121.10 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.0896 from $1.0829.

METALS: Prices for precious and industrial metals closed mixed. Gold rose $11.50 to $1,127.90 an ounce, silver gained 10 cents to $14.34 an ounce and copper slipped a penny to $2.06 a pound.