Technology companies push early US stock gains

Canadian Press DataFile |

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks moved higher in early trading Monday on Wall Street as investors snapped up technology stocks.

The opening gains follow a decline last week that pulled the market further away from record highs set one week ago. Investors have been assessing corporate financial results to get a better picture of the economy's health. So far, the reports have been mixed. Monday is expected to be a quiet day for earnings, but 145 S&P 500 companies are scheduled to report results through Friday.

The technology sector was the clear winner early on and pushed the broader market higher. Microsoft rose 1.3% and Apple rose 1.1%. Several chipmakers, including Intel and Broadcom, also posted gains.

Energy companies gained ground with rising crude oil prices. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 1.2% as tensions in the Persian Gulf escalate with Iran's seizure of a British oil tanker on Friday. Schlumberger climbed 2.7%. Halliburton surged after beating Wall Street's second quarter profit forecasts.

Industrial stocks also rose. General Electric gained 1% and FedEx rose 1.6%.

Utilities and makers of consumer products lagged the market as investors regained an appetite for more risk-heavy stocks.

Whirlpool and TD Ameritrade are expected to report after the market closes on Monday. Corporate earnings will kick into high gear through the rest of the week and investors will get a clearer picture of the U.S. economy when the U.S. government reports productivity for the second quarter on Friday.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.3% as of . The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20 points, or 0.1%, to 27,174. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.6%.

BREACH BILL: Equifax rose 1.5% after a settlement was announced calling for the credit reporting agency to pay up to $700 million over a huge data breach two years ago that exposed personal information of nearly 150 million people. The breach was one of the largest ever to threaten private information.

SMOOTH DRILL: Halliburton rose 6.9% after the oil drilling services company solidly beat Wall Street's second quarter profit forecasts. It highlighted growing revenue from abroad as demand for services rises.

CRACKED SHELLS: Cal-Maine Foods fell 3.9% after the egg producer tumbled to a wider-than-expected fourth quarter loss because of a sharp drop in prices. The company said an oversupply of eggs shaved 37% off the average price of a dozen eggs. It said the supply issue will likely hurt the company through the rest of the year and is being made worse by "a more productive flock."

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