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U.S. stocks rise as metals and machinery companies strengthen

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are rising Wednesday as machinery and chemicals companies climb. The weaker dollar is giving metals prices a boost and could make U.S. goods more affordable in markets overseas. Companies that make household items like drinks and toothpaste are also trading higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 49 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,987 as of 2:20 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,117. The Nasdaq composite added 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,974. The S&P 500 and oil prices are both at their highest levels since July.

MACHINE POWER: Machinery maker Caterpillar rose $1.01, or 1.3 percent, to $77.82 and engine maker Cummins picked up $1.52, or 1.3 percent, to $118.67. Gold and copper producer Freeport-McMoRan added 42 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $11.66, gold producer Newmont Mining gained 65 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $35.60.

The dollar declined to 106.86 yen from 107.31 yen late Tuesday. The euro edged up to $1.1396 from $1.1361.

The dollar has lost some of its strength in the wake of Friday’s disappointing jobs report. That’s helped mining companies and chemicals and machinery makers because a weaker dollar makes U.S. goods more affordable in other countries.

METALS: The price of gold jumped $15.30, or 1.2 percent, to $1,262.30 an ounce and silver leaped 59 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $16.99 an ounce. Copper added 1 cent to $2.06 a pound.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 77 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.13 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 98 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $52.42 per barrel in London.

U.S. crude has risen over the last few days as the dollar weakened. On Tuesday, U.S. crude closed at more than $50 a barrel for the first time since July.

PLAY ON: Restaurant chain Dave & Buster’s climbed $3.97, or 9.5 percent, to $45.83 after the company reported strong first-quarter results and raised its outlook for the year.

PAY UP: VeriFone Systems, which makes terminals used for electronic payments, slashed its annual forecast after it reported disappointing quarterly results. The company said it will eliminate jobs and review some of its struggling businesses. The stock gave up $6.30, or 22.3 percent, to $21.93.

DRINK UP: Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniel’s and other liquor brands, gained ground after it reported strong fourth-quarter results. The stock gained $3.92, or 4 percent, to $101.27. Competitor Constellation Brands, which makes Corona, Negra Modelo and Pacifico beers, rose $3.86, or 2.6 percent, to $154.97.

Other makers of household goods also rose. Kellogg added $1.13, or 1.5 percent, to $76.29 and PepsiCo edged up 77 cents to $103.26.

HANGING UP: Phone company stocks, which have done well over the last two weeks, traded lower. Verizon Communications lost 24 cents to $51.51 and AT&T dipped 3 cents to $39.76.

HE WANTS CANDY: Headphones maker Skullcandy surged after the company’s founder said he might want to take the company private. Rick Alden, Skullcandy’s largest shareholder, disclosed the idea in a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Skullcandy stock climbed 65 cents, or 16.4 percent, to $4.58.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX was down 0.7 percent and France’s CAC-40 shed 0.6 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.3 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.9 percent and Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.8 percent.

GLOBAL GROWTH: The World Bank cut its forecast for this year’s global economic growth to 2.4 percent from the 2.9 percent pace projected in January. That matches economic growth from 2015. The World Bank made the change because of slow growth in advanced economies, low commodity prices, weak global trade and diminishing capital flows.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-Year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.70 percent from 1.72 percent.

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