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U.S. stocks climb with energy companies, oil hits milestone

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks continue to rise Tuesday as energy companies build on their surge from a day earlier. The price of oil surpassed $50 a barrel for the first time in almost a year. Phone companies are rising as bond yields fall.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 71 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,991 as of 2:45 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 8 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,117 and is on track for its highest finish since July. The Nasdaq composite index lagged as drug company stocks fell, gaining just 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,973.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 67 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $50.36 a barrel in New York. Oil hasn’t closed at $50 a barrel or higher since July 21. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, added 89 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $51.44 a barrel in London.

Among energy companies, Chevron rose $2.31, or 2.3 percent, to $103.48 while Newfield Exploration added $1.94, or 4.9 percent, to $41.88. Helmerich & Payne gained $2.79, or 4.3 percent, to $67.53.

THE QUOTE: The dollar plunged following Friday’s jobs report as investors concluded that the Fed won’t raise interest rates any time soon. That has helped energy companies by putting upward pressure on the price of crude oil.

“When you get a Fed that is now perceived to be lower for longer (on interest rates), with a dollar that is less likely to rally, and an economy that may be slowing but is not in recession, that has tended to be a positive for those stocks in 2016,” said Julian Emanuel, U.S. equities and derivatives strategist for UBS.

AROUND THE MARKET: Bond prices rose, sending the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note down to 1.71 percent from 1.74 percent. That made bonds less appealing, and sent income-seeking investors into phone company stocks. Verizon added $1.09, or 2.1 percent, to $51.80. Industrial stocks rose as airlines traded higher. Southwest Airlines picked up $1.32, or 3.2 percent, to $43.09 and Delta rose $1, or 2.4 percent, to $42.28.

TASTY: Organic and specialty foods distributor United Natural Foods posted a larger-than-expected profit in its fiscal third quarter, and the company raised its projections for the year. Its stock jumped $6.07, or 15.6 percent, to $44.90.

ZILLOW SETTLES: Real estate website Zillow Group said it agreed to pay $130 million to settle a lawsuit over trade secrets brought by Move Inc., the National Association of Realtors, and others. The stock gained $1.70, or 5.6 percent, to $32.03.

BIOGEN BOUNCED: Drugmaker Biogen tumbled $35.71, or 12.3 percent, to $254.13 after the company said an experimental multiple sclerosis drug, opicinumab, failed in a mid-stage clinical trial. Stifel Nicolaus analyst Thomas Shrader said opicinumab is a key product for Biogen. He wrote that Biogen’s MS drug Tecfidera has “stalled” and newer therapies could hurt sales of Tysabri, an older drug.

STUDY HITS ALEXION: Alexion Pharmaceuticals said a study of its drug Soliris failed, and its stock lost $16.66, or 10.7 percent, to $138.33. The company gets almost all of its revenue from Soliris, which is approved to treat two rare blood disorders, and an additional approval could have strengthened its sales.

MORE TROUBLE FOR VALEANT: Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals disclosed its delayed quarterly results. The company said it took a loss and cut its profit and revenue estimates for the year. Its stock gave up $4.05, or 14 percent, to $24.80.

POLO-NO: Ralph Lauren said it will close about 50 stores and cut approximately 1,200 jobs as part of a restructuring plan that is intended to save the company about $200 million a year. It expects to take more than $500 million in one-time charges related to the move. The retailer’s stock fell $2.20, or 2.3 percent, to $94.13.

METALS: Metals prices hardly budged. Gold fell 40 cents to $1,247 an ounce. Silver slipped 5 cents to $16.39 an ounce. Copper fell 1 cent to $2.05 a pound.

OTHER ENERGY PRICES: Wholesale gasoline held steady at $1.59 a gallon. Heating oil added 4 cents to $1.54 a gallon. Natural gas gained 1 cent to $2.47 per 1,000 cubic feet.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX rose 1.6 percent and the CAC-40 in France was up 1.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares edged up 0.2 percent after a hefty gain on Monday. Asian stock markets posted strong gains earlier. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent and South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1.4 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 107.33 yen from 107.40 yen. The euro fell to $1.1362 from $1.1373.

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