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US stocks mostly higher as machinery, metals companies rise

Stocks are mostly higher Wednesday as machinery and chemicals companies get a boost from the weaker dollar. Metals prices are climbing. However phone companies and consumer stocks are lagging the market.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 25 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,962 as of 11:26 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 1 point to 2,113. The Nasdaq composite was flat at 4,961.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 106.73 yen from 107.31 yen late Tuesday. The euro edged up to $1.1390 from $1.1361.

The dollar has lost some of its strength in the wake of Friday’s disappointing jobs report. That’s helped mining companies and chemicals and machinery makers because a weaker dollar makes U.S. goods more affordable in other countries. Metals prices climbed. Gold rose 1.3 percent and silver gained almost 4 percent.

Machinery maker Caterpillar jumped $1.16, or 1.5 percent, to $77.97 and engine maker Cummins picked up $1.82, or 1.6 percent, to $118.97. Gold and copper producer Freeport-McMoRan added 42 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $11.66, gold producer Newmont Mining gained 64 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $35.60 and aluminum company Alcoa rose 18 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $9.97.

PLAY ON: Restaurant chain Dave & Buster’s climbed $3.58, or 8.6 percent, to $45.44 after the company reported strong first-quarter results and raised its outlook for the year.

PAY UP: VeriFone Systems, which makes terminals used for electronic payments, slashed its annual forecast after it reported disappointing quarterly results. The company said it will eliminate jobs and review some of its struggling businesses. The stock gave up $8.12, or 28.7 percent, to $20.11.

THE LAGGARDS: Phone company stocks, which have done well over the last two weeks, traded lower. Verizon Communications lost 34 cents to $51.41 and AT&T dipped 8 cents to $39.71. Consumer stocks also slipped. Netflix gave up $2.10, or 2.1 percent, to $97.79 and home improvement retailer Lowe’s skidded 78 cents, or 1 percent, to $78.77.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 50 cents, or 1 percent, to $50.86 per barrel in the New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 58 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $52.02 per barrel in London.

U.S. crude has risen over the last few days as the dollar weakened. On Tuesday, U.S. crude closed at more than $50 a barrel for the first time since July.

OXFORD ROCKED: Oxford Industries, the owner of Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer and other clothing lines slumped after its first-quarter results disappointed investors. The stock lost $3.94, or 6 percent, to $61.19.

HE WANTS CANDY: Headphones maker Skullcandy surged after the company’s founder said he might want to take Skullcandy private. Rick Alden, the company’s largest shareholder, disclosed the idea in a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Skullcandy stock climbed 65 cents, or 16.5 percent, to $4.58.

HITTING RESET: Computer networking company F5 Networks lost $4.17, or 3.4 percent, to $119.77. The stock had jumped 13 percent Tuesday on reports the company would consider selling itself.

DRINK UP: Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniel’s and other liquor brands, gained ground after it reported strong fourth-quarter results. The stock gained $2.90, or 3 percent, to $110.25.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX was down 0.8 percent and France’s CAC-40 shed 0.7 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.9 percent and Seoul’s Kospi advanced 0.8 percent.

GLOBAL GROWTH: The World Bank cut its forecast for this year’s global economic growth to 2.4 percent from the 2.9 percent pace projected in January. It cited sluggish growth in advanced economies, stubbornly low commodity prices, weak global trade and diminishing capital flows. It said half the revision was prompted by the struggle of commodity-exporting economies to adapt to lower prices for oil and other key commodities.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-Year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.71 percent from 1.72 percent.

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