U.S. stocks jump as Apple pulls tech companies up again

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks changed course again Thursday and climbed as Apple led a big gain for technology companies and energy companies recovered some of their recent losses. Investors looked over a series of mixed economic reports as they sought clues about the Federal Reserve’s intentions and the health of the economy.

Technology companies made the largest gains as Apple rose for the fourth consecutive day. It’s up 12 percent this week on growing optimism about early sales of its newest iPhones.

Energy companies bounced back after two rough days, though the price of oil rose only a small amount. Health care and phone company stocks also climbed. Bond yields wobbled and finished little changed, a sign investors aren’t sure what will happen with interest rates.

It was the fourth big move for the market in the last five days as investors try to anticipate whether the Fed will raise interest rates next week. Based on weaker producer prices and manufacturing and less spending by shoppers, they appeared to conclude rates will stay where they are for now.

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Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist for Voya Investment Strategies, said investors are sending stocks higher because they think the reports will make the Fed less likely to raise rates now. Some investors fear that that would hurt the economy.

“They’re not going to raise interest rates in September,” she said. “It was kind of a mixed bag, but the bottom line is that the data’s not great.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 177.71 points, or 1 percent, to 18,212.48. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 21.49 points, or 1 percent, to 2,147.26. The Nasdaq composite gained 75.92 points, or 1.5 percent, to 5,249.69.

Apple rose to its highest price in 10 months on reports of strong preorders for the new iPhones it introduced last week. The stock added $3.80, or 3.4 percent, to $115.57. Other technology companies also rose. Microsoft gained 93 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $57.19 and Intel picked up 94 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $36.56.

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Strong gains for technology and health care companies have the Nasdaq on pace for its best week since late June.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 33 cents to $43.91 per barrel in New York. It fell almost 6 percent in the last two days. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 74 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $46.59 a barrel in London. Among energy stocks, Marathon Petroleum rose $1.87, or 4.5 percent, to $43.74 and Chevron gained $1.08, or 1.1 percent, to $99.50.

Investors pored over a series of economic reports. The Labor Department said producer prices fell in August as gas and food prices declined. Lower producer prices reduce inflation, and the Fed has said it wants to see evidence inflation is edging upward before it raises rates. Inflation has remained consistently low in recent years.

Reports by the Commerce Department and the Federal Reserve, respectively, showed that retail sales fell last month and factory production decreased as well.

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Bond prices wobbled. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 1.70 percent.

Among companies in the news, Goodyear Tire & Rubber climbed after the company boosted its dividend and said it plans to return $4 billion to shareholders over the next few years. The stock rose $1.58, or 5.1 percent, to $32.39.

Aerie Pharmaceuticals surged $9.48, or 44.9 percent, to $30.61 after the company reported positive results from a late-stage trial of Roclatan, an experimental glaucoma drug.

AMC Networks fell $1.44, or 2.8 percent, to $50.53 after Stifel Nicolaus analyst Benjamin Mogil downgraded the company because competition is growing and ratings for its hit “The Walking Dead” may weaken as the show enters its seventh season.

Wells Fargo lost 37 cents to $46.15. Regulators said last week that the bank opened more than 2 million accounts that customers may not have authorized and transferred money into those accounts without their approval. The company agreed to pay a $185 million fine and says it will cut back on aggressive sales targets, but the controversy is damaging its reputation.

The stock is mired in a five-day losing streak that has pulled its value down 7.5 percent.

The price of gold fell $8.10 to $1,318 an ounce and silver lost 3 cents to $19.04 an ounce. Copper remained at $2.16 a pound.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline jumped 7 cents, or 5 percent, to $1.43 a gallon. Heating oil rose 3 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $1.42 a gallon. Natural gas added 4 cents to $2.93 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The dollar slid to 102.16 yen from 102.42 yen. The euro dipped to $1.1246 from $1.1249.

The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares traded 0.9 percent higher. Germany’s DAX rose 0.5 percent while the CAC 40 of France edged up 0.1 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 tumbled 1.3 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6 percent.