U.S. stocks rise as energy companies rally with oil prices

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were higher Wednesday afternoon as energy companies ralliied with the price of oil and technology companies moving higher. Consumer-focused companies were down following weak first-quarter reports from Priceline and Disney and health care companies are slipping as a quiet week of trading continues.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,398 as of 2:07 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average shed 31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,944 as Disney slumped. The Nasdaq composite rose 7 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,128 and was on pace for another record close. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks was up 8 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,399.

OIL: Oil prices started the day higher and made bigger gains after U.S. crude stockpiles shrank more than investors expected last week. Crude oil has fallen in recent weeks and it’s down 16 percent this year as investors have wondered if the members of OPEC and other key oil-producing countries will be able to limit production and support prices.

Benchmark U.S. crude surged $1.76, or 3.8 percent, to $47.64 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gained $1.76, or 3.6 percent, to $50.49 a barrel in London. That sent energy companies higher, as EOG Resources picked up $3.43, or 3.7 percent, to $95.07 and Chevron added $1.28, or 1.2 percent, to $106.36.

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The S&P 500’s energy sector has dropped 10 percent this year as investors worried about oil prices and profits at energy companies.

TECH EARNINGS: Video game maker Electronic Arts and chipmaker Nvidia both reported stronger results than analysts had expected. Electronic Arts, which makes games including “The Sims” and “Mass Effect,” rose $12.91, or 13.4 percent, to $108.92 and Nvidia advanced $17.68, or 17.2 percent, to $120.62. Nvidia shares have struggled in the last few months after they tripled in value in 2016, but are on track for their highest close ever.

MOUSE MISS: Entertainment giant Walt Disney posted lower sales than investors expected and it said profit at its cable networks declined because of programming costs at ESPN remain high. Its stock fell $3.07, or 2.7 percent, to $109. Recently Disney stock suffered a five-day losing streak partly brought on by concerns about cable advertising revenue. The stock is trading at its lowest prices since February but is still up almost 5 percent this year.

OUT OF LINE: Revenue for online booking service Priceline was a bit lower than analysts expected and the company’s profit forecast for the current quarter was also disappointing. That sent the stock down $100, or 5.2 percent, to $1,811.09. Priceline has soared 44 percent over the last 12 months.

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YIPES, YELP: Online review website Yelp plunged after it slashed its revenue forecast for the year. That followed a disappointing first-quarter report, and analysts said the company struggled to retain customers. The stock sank $6.15, or 17.7 percent, to $28.55 to reach its lowest price in almost a year.

WATCH OUT: Watchmaker Fossil tumbled after another weaker-than-expected quarterly report. The company said sales of traditional watches and other jewelry continued to fall. Fossil stock traded above $100 a share as recently as December 2014 is now trading at eight-year lows as it lost $4.10, or 22.6 percent, to $14.05.

HEALTH CARE: Botox maker Allergan is on track for its biggest loss in 2017 as its stock fell for the fourth day in a row. It’s trading around three-month lows, down $7.56, or 3.2 percent, at $230.95. That helped take health care companies lower. Elsewhere biotechnology company Amgen lost $3.18, or 1.9 percent, to $160.04 and Biogen shed $3.71, or 1.4 percent, to $257.57.

PRETTY PICTURE: Beauty products maker Coty rallied after its profit and sales topped investor forecasts. The stock had lost about a third of its value over the last year but jumped $2.56, and 14.3 percent, to $20.39.

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STOP THE PRESSES: Time, the publisher of Time and People magazines, disclosed a bigger loss and less revenue than Wall Street had expected as print and circulation revenue continued to fall. The company cut its quarterly dividend to 4 cents from 19 cents, saying it wants to use some of that money to reduce its debts. Its stock shed $2.17, or 14.4 percent, to $12.93.

BONDS: Bond prices rose early but later returned that gain. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.41 percent.

METALS: Gold inched up $2.80 to settle at $1,218.90 an ounce. Silver rose 14 cents to $16.21 an ounce. Copper was unchanged at $2.49 a pound.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 114.24 yen from 114.28 yen. The euro dipped to $1.0860 from $1.0869.

OVERSEAS: In Britain, the FTSE 100 jumped 0.6 percent. Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent and the CAC 40 in France finished unchanged. The Japanese Nikkei 225 gained 0.3 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.5 percent. The Kospi of South Korea fell 1 percent.

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