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U.S. Stock Indexes Head Higher in Morning Trading; Oil Slides

Benchmark crude oil was down 64 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $52.37 a barrel in New York

The New York Stock Exchange at sunset, in lower Manhattan, photo: AP/Mary Altaffer, File
8 months ago

U.S. stock indexes moved higher in morning trading Friday as investors pored over earnings reports from several big lenders. Banks and other financial companies were up the most. Utilities were the biggest laggard. Energy stocks were wavering between small gains and losses as crude oil prices headed lower.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 19,910 as of 11:28 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 6 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,277. The Nasdaq composite index added 32 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,580. Small-company stocks rose more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index jumped 14 points, or 1 percent, to $1,375.

BANKING ON EARNINGS: Three major U.S. banks reported quarterly results early Friday that beat Wall Street’s forecasts. JPMorgan Chase added 97 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $87.21, while Bank of America gained 28 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $23.19. Wells Fargo rose $1.33, or 2.4 percent, to $55.83. A jump in bond yields and interest rates also helped give lenders a lift. Regions Financial gained 41 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $14.84.

SLASH & GAIN: Pandora Media climbed 6.9 percent after the streaming music company issued a strong revenue forecast. The company also said it will cut about 7 percent of its jobs to reduce costs. The stock added 82 cents to $12.83.

THANKS, UNCLE SAM: DexCom vaulted 24 percent after the medical device maker said Medicare has decided to cover a continuous blood glucose monitoring system it makes for diabetes patients. The stock picked up $16.21 to $83.82.

RATE IMPACT: HomeStreet fell 4.8 percent after the real estate lender forecast disappointing fourth-quarter results as mortgage applications dropped because of rising interest rates. The stock slid $1.47 to $29.48.

NO FUN: GameStop was down 9.2 percent after the video game retailer said holiday revenue dropped because of discounts and weak sales of new “Call of Duty” and “Titanfall” games. The stock fell $2.27 to $22.46.

THE ECONOMY: Traders got a batch of encouraging news on the U.S. economy Friday. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.6 percent in December as online shopping and auto sales increased. Separately, the Labor Department said a gauge of producer prices, which tracks price changes before they reach consumers, rose 1.6 percent in the 12 months ended in December. That’s the biggest 12-month gain since September 2014.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.8 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was 1.2 percent higher. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.5 percent. Earlier in Asia, some markets finished lower on disappointing trade data from China. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.5 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.8 percent. South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.5 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slumped 0.8 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark crude oil was down 64 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $52.37 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price oil sold internationally, was down 55 cents, or 1 percent, at $55.46 a barrel in London.

BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.42 percent from 2.36 percent late Thursday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 115.14 yen from 114.63 yen on Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.0614 from $1.0626.

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