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US stock indexes edge higher in early trading; Oil up

U.S. stock indexes edged higher in morning trading Tuesday, recovering after an early slide. Investors weighed the latest batch of company earnings and economic news. Banks and other financials stocks led the gainers, while phone company stocks were down the most. Energy stocks rose as oil prices were headed higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 20,589 as of 10:06 a.m. Eastern Time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,345. The Nasdaq composite index gained 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,844. The Dow has fallen for eight days in a row, its longest losing streak in more than five years.

TASTY RESULTS: Darden Restaurants jumped 7.5 percent after the owner of Olive Garden reported strong quarterly results and said it will buy the Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen chain for $780 million. Cheddar has 165 locations in 28 states. Darden shares rose $5.56 to $81.14.

STRONG QUARTER: Red Hat climbed 6.6 percent after the open-source software company reported strong sales and solid guidance for the current quarter. The stock added $5.17 to $87.37.

SMOOTH SAILING: Carnival rose 1.1 percent after the cruise line operator served up solid first-quarter results and a better-than-expected estimate for the second quarter. The stock, which closed at an all-time high on Monday, gained 59 cents to $59.46.

HOME PRICES: The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index showed that home prices rose at the fastest pace in more than two years in January. Mortgage rates are rising but that’s not expected to affect home sales yet because hiring is still strong, rates are low and there aren’t a lot of homes on the market.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX was up 0.6 percent, while France’s CAC 40 was flat. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.1 percent. Investors, particularly in U.K.-related assets, will have more to chew on Wednesday when the British government finally triggers the two-year process by which it leaves the European Union. In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 gained 1.1 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.5 percent. Seoul’s Kospi rose 0.3 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 50 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $48.24 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 52 cents, or 1 percent, to $51.42 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.0862 from $1.0868, while the dollar fell to 110.42 yen from 110.57 yen.

TREASURY YIELDS: Bond prices edged higher. The 10-year Treasury yield fell to 2.37 percent from 2.38 percent.


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