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US Stocks Led Higher by Techs          02/19 09:38

   Technology companies led stocks higher in early trading Wednesday as 
investors set aside some of their concerns about the virus outbreak that 
originated in China.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Technology companies led stocks higher in early trading 
Wednesday as investors set aside some of their concerns about the virus 
outbreak that originated in China.

   New cases of the virus fell for a second straight day. China's top diplomat 
told counterparts in Southeast Asia that the situation "is under effective 
control" in the province where the outbreak is centered.

   The early gains mark a reversal from Tuesday when tech stocks led the market 
lower after Apple warned that its revenue would take a hit because of the 
outbreak. Apple rose 1% and chipmaker Nvidia jumped 4.2%.

   Bond prices fell, pushing yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury 
rose to 1.57% from 1.55% late Tuesday. JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and 
other banks climbed.

   Navigation device maker Garmin and chipmaker Analog Devices jumped after 
reporting strong earnings. Safe-play assets like real estate companies and 
utilities lagged behind.

   KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 0.4% as of 10:30 a.m. Eastern time. 
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 64 points, or 0.2%, to 29,298. The Nasdaq 
rose 0.7%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks rose 0.3%. Markets 
in Europe and Asia climbed.

   FRESHENING THE PILLOWS: Bed Bath & Beyond rose 4.1% after the home goods 
retailer rolled out initiatives to turn the struggling chain around. The 
company will spend $1 billion this year reinvesting in stores, upgrading 
technology, and on debt reduction and share buybacks. The moves come a month 
after the company withdrew its annual financial forecast because of weak 
results.

   SOLID CONSTRUCTION: Several homebuilders gained ground following a 
surprisingly good government report on new home construction. The report also 
showed that applications for building permits jumped 9.2% in January. Beazer 
Homes rose 1.8% and Hovnanian Enterprises rose 1.4%.

   VIRUS UPDATE: The virus has now infected more than 75,000 people globally, 
though the overwhelming majority of them are in China. Scientific instrument 
maker Agilent, which gets about 19% of its revenue from there, is the latest 
company to warn that the virus' economic impact will hurt profits. 


(CZ)

 
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