NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are continuing to climb Wednesday as energy companies and mining and chemicals companies trade higher. Banks are also gaining ground. Hewlett Packard Enterprise agreed to sell a business to Computer Sciences, and both stocks are jumping. European stocks are rising after a deal to get Greece more rescue loans.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 172 points, or 1 percent, to 17,877 as of 1:07 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 18 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,093. The Nasdaq composite index added 43 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,904. Tuesday was the biggest gain for stocks in more than two months.
TECH TIE-UP: Hewlett Packard Enterprise said it will sell its business service unit to CSC for $8.5 billion. The company, which was formed when Hewlett-Packard split in two last year, will focus on selling tech products to big organizations, like hardware and software for data centers. Hewlett Packard Enterprise rose $1.34, or 8.2 percent, to $17.59 and Computer Sciences surged $12.38, or 34.7 percent, to $48.03.
OIL: Oil prices ticked higher after the U.S. government said fuel stockpiles decreased last week. Benchmark U.S. crude gained 51 cents, or 1 percent, to $39.13 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 72 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $49.33 a barrel in London. That sent energy companies higher. Chevron added $1.52, or 1.5 percent, to $101.71 and Schlumberger rose $1.91, or 2.5 percent, to $77.53.
Oil prices haven’t been this high since early October.
PLANTING SEEDS: German conglomerate Bayer said it’s committed to completing its acquisition of Monsanto. Monsanto rejected a $62 billion offer from Bayer but said Tuesday that it’s open to talks, and its stock gained $1.65, or 1.5 percent, to $110.95. Bayer’s offer valued Monsanto at $122 per share.
Elsewhere, chemicals maker LyondellBasell Industries picked up $1.92, or 2.4 percent, to $82.38. Gold and copper miner Freeport-McMoRan added 61 cents, or 5.5 percent, to $11.72.
BONDS AND BANKS: Bank stocks made some of the biggest gains even though bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note remained at 1.86 percent. But Wells Fargo rose $1.54, or 3.1 percent, to $50.74 and Citigroup added $1.09, or 2.4 percent, to $46.95.
TAXED: TurboTax and QuickBooks maker Intuit returned some of its recent gains despite strong results in the fiscal third quarter. The stock lost $2.65, or 2.5 percent, to $104.66. Intuit stock has climbed this year, closing Tuesday at its highest price since July.
RETAIL: A string of painful quarterly results for retailers continued Wednesday. Clothing and accessories chain Express reported disappointing results and gave weak projections for the rest of the year, and its stock fell $1.54, or 9.6 percent, to $14.49. Jewelry retailer Tiffany said customers cut spending in its latest quarter, and the strong dollar is hurting its international sales. Tiffany said it expects its profit to decline this year, and its stock slid 58 cents to $63.27.
ALIBABA AND THE SEC: The Chinese e-commerce company says U.S. regulators are investigating its accounting practices. Alibaba said the Securities and Exchange Commission has asked for documents and information related to its consolidated earnings and other items. The stock lost $4.06, or 5 percent, to $77.06.
SANOFI MAKES A MOVE: French drugmaker Sanofi said it wants to replace the entire board of Medivation. The cancer drug maker rejected a $9.3 billion offer from Sanofi and the company says Medivation won’t discuss a deal. Sanofi stock gained 87 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $41.08.
HANGING UP: Microsoft said it will cut 1,850 jobs, most of them in Finland, from its troubled mobile phone business. It will also write down the value of the business by $950 million. Microsoft bought Nokia’s phone division for $7.3 billion in 2014 and has already cut the value of that business and eliminated 26,000 jobs. Microsoft rose 86 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $52.45.
GREECE DEAL: Greece will get about $11.5 billion in loans after finance ministers from the eurozone approved the country’s latest package of tax hikes and reforms. The release of the loans removes the risk that Greece will default on its debts in coming months. The creditors also discussed how to lighten the country’s debt load.
OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX advanced 1.5 percent. France’s CAC gained 1.1 percent while Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.6 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 2.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.2 percent.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 110.22 yen from 109.98 yen. The euro inched up to $1.1160 from $1.1143.