US stocks rise as technology, energy sectors gain

Associated Press

 
Jay Heller, left, IPO Execution Officer for Nasdaq, shows Keith Dunleavy, CEO of Inovalon, the progress of pricing for his company's stock on computer screens during the Bowie, Maryland health-tech firm's IPO at the Nasdaq MarketSite, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 in New York.  Stocks rose in early trading Thursday as energy and technology stocks climbed. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose Thursday, led by gains in technology companies.

Cisco Systems was the biggest gainer in the technology sector after reporting better-than-expected earnings. Energy stocks advanced as the price of oil rebounded following two days of heavy losses.

European markets got a lift after world leaders clinched a cease-fire deal for Ukraine and as investors remained hopeful that Greece would be able to reach a deal with its creditors.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 14 points, to 0.7 percent, to 2,084 as of 1:06 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 66 points, or 0.4 to 17,928. The Nasdaq composite climbed 41 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,843.

EARNINGS BEAT: Cisco, a major maker of computer networking equipment, jumped $2.42, or 9 percent, to $29.36 after it reported earnings late Wednesday that exceeded analysts’ expectations. The company’s outlook for the full year was also better than expected.

TRAVEL MERGER: Shares of Orbitz surged $2.08, or 21 percent, to $11.70 after Expedia agreed to buy the online travel booking company for about $1.3 billion. It’s Expedia’s second major deal in the past month as the industry consolidates. Expedia gained $12.83, or 9 percent, to $91.05.

 

TripAdvisor, another travel website, was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500, surging $16.11, or 24 percent, to $83.30.

NO LONGER EXCLUSIVE: American Express slumped $5.19, or 6 percent, to $80.81 after the company said that it hasn’t been able to come to an agreement to renew and exclusivity deal with retailer Costco. The current agreement covers U.S. stores and dates back 16 years. It will end March 31, 2016.

GREEK DEBT: An emergency meeting Wednesday between Greece’s new government and finance ministers from nations that use the euro ended in a stalemate. Greece wants its eurozone creditors to ease the terms of a bailout program that has imposed years of austerity on the country. Investors are hopeful that a deal will be reached before the country’s bailout program expires at the end of the month. The main Athens stock index jumped 7 percent.

UKRAINE: Investors were encouraged by news that all-night negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany had produced a peace deal for Ukraine. The conflict has weighed on the economies of Europe and Russia by creating uncertainty and through the impact of economic sanctions the two sides have imposed.

THE QUOTE: Stocks have rebounded in February after logging their worst month in a year in January. The gains have pushed the major indexes into the black for the year.

The stock market will likely remain volatile this year, following three years of gains, as investors grapple with the possibility of higher interest rates, said Dave O’Malley, CEO of Penn Mutual Asset Management.

“It’s going to continue to be a choppy market,” said O’Malley. He expects the S&P 500 to end the year at 1,950, slightly below today’s level.

EUROPE’S DAY: Germany’s DAX gained 1.6 percent to 10,922 and Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.1 percent to 6,829. France’s CAC 40 was 1.1 percent higher at 4,729.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained $2.12, or 4.3 percent, to $50.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, rebounding after two days of big losses.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged down to 1.97 percent.

The dollar fell to 118.70 yen from 120.16 yen the previous day. The euro rose to $1.1413 from $1.1319.