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Retailers, tech, health care companies lead US stocks higher

U.S. stocks are rising Wednesday as retailers including Urban Outfitters and Target climb. That’s helping retailers recover some of the sharp losses they took a day earlier. Health care and technology companies are also trading higher. Energy companies are lagging the rest of the market as the price of oil turns lower.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 8 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,472 as of noon Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 73 points, or 0.3 percent, to 22,072. The Nasdaq composite gained 31 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,363. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies jumped 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,390.

FLYING OFF THE RACK: Clothing and accessories retailer Urban Outfitters had a better second quarter than Wall Street expected, and analysts said there are some signs the company’s business is recovering after years of struggles. The stock rose $2.87, or 17.1 percent, to $19.69 Wednesday. Even with those gains, it’s down 30 percent this year. Recently the stock has traded at eight-year lows, far below its price of $40 a share in mid-2015.

Target also gained $1.67, or 3.1 percent, to $56.02. The company raised its annual estimates after it did better than analysts expected in the second quarter.

RETAIL RALLY: Gap climbed 44 cents, or 2 percent, to $22.50. Express added 32 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $5.89. Retailers had struggled a day earlier after poor results and lower forecasts from Dick’s Sporting Goods and Advance Auto Parts. The S&P 500 index of retailers climbed 1.7 percent Wednesday after a 2.3 percent plunge the day before.

LEADERS: Scientific instrument maker Agilent Technologies advanced $2.52, or 4.2 percent, to $61.902 after a strong third-quarter report. Health care products giant Johnson & Johnson edged up $1.05 to $134.43 and drugmaker Biogen climbed $7.31, or 2.5 percent, to $295.23.

Technologies companies climbed as well. Payment processor Visa rose 97 cents to $103.43 and Cisco Systems, which sells routers, switches and software, picked up 36 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $32.45.

FED OUTLOOK: The Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its latest policy meeting on Wednesday. Investors will be looking for clues about its plans for interest rates and letting its balance sheet shrink.

BONDS: Bond prices turned higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.25 percent from 2.27 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 26 cents to $47.29 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 6 cents to $50.74 a barrel in London.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 110.73 yen from 110.58 yen. The euro declined to $1.1705 from $1.1734.

OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 rose 0.8 percent and Germany’s DAX advanced 0.7 percent. In Britain, the FTSE 100 gained 0.7 percent after new data showed an encouraging rise in wage growth. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 retreated 0.1 percent while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.9 percent. The South Korean Kospi advanced 0.6 percent.

About Associated Press

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