U.S. stocks are climbing Thursday after the Labor Department said inflation slowed a bit in August. Technology companies like Apple and Microsoft made some of the largest gains after a recent bout of uncertainty, and chipmaker Qualcomm jumped after it announced a big stock buyback program.
Stock indexes in Turkey and other emerging markets rose after the Turkish central bank raised interest rates sharply in response to the nation’s currency crisis.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index gained 15 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,904 at closing time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 147 points, or 0.6 percent, to 26,147. The Nasdaq composite jumped 59 points, or 0.8 percent, to 8,014. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks remained at 1,715.
TECH TUNAROUND: Apple climbed 2.1 percent to $225.74 and Microsoft added 0.9 percent to $112.77. Technology companies slumped last week as investors worried about the prospect of heavier regulation for companies like Facebook and Alphabet.
Qualcomm rose 4.5 percent to $74.97 after it announced a $16 billion share buyback program. Other chipmakers including Skyworks and Broadcom also rose. They stumbled a day earlier.
PRICES: The Department of Labor said its index of consumer prices edged up 0.2 percent in August, and it’s risen 2.7 percent over the past year. That’s a bit slower than the 2.9 percent it reported in July. Investors have worried that faster inflation could threaten economic growth and the current bull market.
MUST SEE: Cable channel operator Discovery rose another 4.4 percent to 32.06. The stock jumped 7.7 percent Wednesday after the company announced a deal that will make more of its programming available on the streaming service Hulu.
TECH RESET: The S&P 500 is divided into 11 industrial sectors that track industries like energy and health care. Later this month, companies including Facebook, Netflix and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, will be shifted into a new group called “communications services.” It will also include media companies like Disney and companies like AT&T, which recently bought the media conglomerate Time Warner.
Lindsey Bell, an investment strategist with CFRA, said the remaining technology sector stocks should trade higher because of the change, as leading companies like Microsoft and Apple are focusing on their most profitable businesses.
Facebook and Netflix both went through sharp declines in July, while Facebook and Alphabet have both struggled in September following Congressional hearings.
CLEANUP IN AISLE FOUR: Supermarket company Kroger dropped 10.1 percent to $28.54 after its sales fell short of Wall Street forecasts.
TALKING TURKEY: Turkey’s central bank raised its key interest rate to contain the nation’s currency crisis and inflation. The Turkish lira rose 4.4 percent against the U.S. dollar and Turkey’s main stock index gained 2.4 percent.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had repeatedly and publicly pushed the bank to keep rates low. That shook investors’ confidence, as they grew worried about the bank’s independence and Turkey’s ability to react to inflation, slowing growth, and its diplomatic spat with the U.S.
The stock indexes of Argentina, Russia and Mexico also rose. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped 2.5 percent after it fell for nine of the previous 10 days.
DRUG DEVELOPMENT: Acorda Therapeutics dropped 5 percent to $17.58 after announcing that the Food and Drug Administration will take three more months to review its inhaled Parkinson’s disease treatment Inbrija.
The stock has plunged 36 percent over an eight-day losing streak. On Monday, the shares nosedived 25 percent after Acorda said an appeals court ruled that four patents on its drug Ampyra are not valid. That paves the way for other companies to launch generic versions of the drug, which is intended to help multiple sclerosis patients walk.
INSURANCE ASSURANCE: Insurance companies rose and reversed their recent loses as Hurricane Florence weakened somewhat. The slow-moving storm is expected to reach the East Coast Friday and might remain around the Carolinas for days, but investors figure that it won’t do as much damage and property insurers won’t have to pay out as much as they had feared.
Allstate rose 1.4 percent to $98.98 while RenaissanceRe jumped 3 percent to $131.37 and Everest Re climbed 2.9 percent to $220.31.
OVERSEAS: The German DAX added 0.2 percent and France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.1 percent. In Britain, the FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1 percent and the South Korean Kospi rose 0.1 percent.
CENTRAL BANKS: The European Central Bank confirmed it will halve its bond-buying stimulus program, a step it announced earlier this summer. The Bank of England held off any changes to its policies as it monitors developments in the Brexit talks this fall.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude slid 2.5 percent to $68.61 a barrel in New York. It jumped 4.3 percent Tuesday and Wednesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 1.7 percent to $78.37 a barrel in London.
BONDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.96 percent.
METALS: Gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,208.20 an ounce. Silver dipped 0.3 percent to $14.24 an ounce. Copper rose 0.3 percent to $2.68 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.83 yen from 111.22 yen. The euro rose to $1.1688 from $1.1632.
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