- Associated Press
Thursday, March 15, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks are climbing Thursday as technology, industrial and health care companies lead the way following two days of broad losses. Discount retailer Dollar General is climbing after a strong profit forecast for the year. Toymakers Hasbro and Mattel are down as Toys R Us moves toward shuttering its U.S. stores.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P; 500 index rose 11 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,760 as of 11:35 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 267 points, or 1.1 percent, to 25,025. The Nasdaq composite gained 22 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,518. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was little changed at 1,583, and the New York Stock Exchange was about evenly split between rising and falling stocks.

BARGAIN HUNTING: Discount retailer Dollar General climbed $5.92, or 6.6 percent, to $95.13 after it said shoppers spent more money per trip during the fourth quarter. The company also gave a strong forecast for the year. Competitor Dollar Tree gained $2.48, or 2.7 percent, to $95.29.

TOYS WINDING DOWN: Mattel declined 39 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $13.79 and Hasbro fell $1, or 1.1 percent, to $87.53 as Toys R Us prepares to shut down its U.S. operations. CEO David Brandon told employees Wednesday the chain plans to liquidate all of its U.S. stores, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press. The company has 740 stores and 30,000 employees, and its struggles have hurt both Hasbro and Mattel because they each get about 10 percent of their sales from Toys R Us.

The 70-year-old company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late October and said in late January that it would close 182 stores. Since that date, Mattel has plunged 22 percent and Hasbro has fallen 7 percent.

LEADERS: Apple contributed to the gains for technology companies as it rose $1.53 to $179.97, and Google’s parent company Alphabet picked up $11.08, or 1 percent, to $1,159.97 and IBM added $3.01, or 1.9 percent, to $161.13. Construction equipment maker Caterpillar gained $2.87, or 1.9 percent, to $155.41 and General Electric added 21 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $14.48 as industrial companies rose.

Among health care companies, Alexion Pharmaceuticals gained $10.73, or 8.7 percent, to $133.41 after it said one of its key experimental drugs worked in a late-stage study. ALXN1210 is designed to treat a rare blood disorder. Merck moved up 90 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $55.70.

OFFICE MOVE: Consumer giant Unilever fell 86 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $52.48 after the company said it will put its sole headquarters in the Netherlands. For year it’s had dual head offices in London and Rotterdam. The company said its part of a restructuring aimed at making it a “more agile and more focused business.”

PRINT IT: 3D Systems Holdings jumped $1.23, or 10.1 percent, to $13.38 after the 3D printer maker had a stronger fourth quarter than analysts expected.

WATERWORKS: Connecticut Water Service jumped $4.38, or 8.3 percent, to $56.85 after the parent company of San Jose Water agreed to buy it for $750 million in stock. SJW Group lost $2.62, or 4.8 percent, to $51.76.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 35 cents to $61.31 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 26 cents to $65.15 per barrel in London.

BONDS: Bond prices rose were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.82 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slid to 106.15 yen from 106.25 yen. The euro fell to $1.2333 from $1.2375.

OVERSEAS: The DAX in Germany rose 0.9 percent and France’s CAC 40 gained 0.7 percent. The British FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged 0.1 percent higher while South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.3 percent.


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

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