Indexes waver as drugmakers rise and airlines fall further

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Indexes waver as drugmakers rise and airlines fall further
FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, file photo, the American flag flies above the Wall Street entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks are mixed early Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, as health care companies including Biogen and Celgene rise, but airlines continue to take steep losses as investors worry about rising costs and the possibility of falling fares. The dollar is weakening further as the U.S. currency remains at three-year lows. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks are mixed Thursday morning as health care companies including Biogen and Celgene rise, but airlines continue to take steep losses as investors worry about rising costs and the possibility of falling fares. The dollar is weakening further. The U.S. currency remains at three-year lows.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,835 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average added 42 points, or 0.2 percent, to 26,294. The Nasdaq composite lost 8 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,406. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,596.

BUMPY LANDINGS: Airlines also continued to decline as they reported their quarterly results: Alaska Airlines lost .64, or 7.2 percent, to .05 and Southwest shed .45, or 3.9 percent, to .76. American Airlines sank .97, or 3.6 percent, to .82. A day ago United Continental sent shivers through the industry when it said it plans to add passenger capacity at a faster pace over the next few years. That could increase the chances of a glut of flights that leads to lower prices. Airlines are also dealing with higher fuel costs as the price of oil rises. Labor costs are up as well.

Other transportation companies also fell. Railroad operator Union Pacific fell .29, or 5.9 percent, to .90 after its profit disappointed Wall Street.

CHIP CHEERS: Technology companies were mixed, but chipmakers recovered some of their sharp losses from the day before. On Wednesday the Nasdaq went through its worst loss in about four weeks. Intel, which has struggled following reports of a security flaw in its processors, rose 52 cents, or 1.1 percent, to .03 Thursday. Micron Technology climbed 86 cents, or 2 percent, to .94.

Chipmakers dropped on Wednesday after Texas Instruments gave a weak forecast that left investors concerned about slower growth for the industry.

PRESCRIPTION POWER: Biotech drugmakers Biogen and Celgene also advanced after they gave their fourth-quarter reports. Biogen picked up .44 to .94 and Celgene added 71 cents to .82.

BONDS: Bond prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.66 percent from 2.65 percent, its highest level in three years. The yield on the 2-year note rose to 2.09 percent from 2.08 percent.

The European Central Bank didn’t make any changes to its stimulus programs. ECB head Mario Draghi said the eurozone economy still needs support to keep raising the rate of inflation toward healthier levels. It will continue to buy 30 billion euros ( billion) in bonds per month until at least September.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 109.01 yen from 109.05 yen. The euro rose to .2482 from .2405. The dollar has fallen to three-year lows and skidded on Wednesday following comments by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said the weaker dollar is good for U.S. exporters. While the decline in the dollar has helped the sales and profits of technology and industrial companies and other firms that export a lot of goods from the U.S., it has hurt smaller and more U.S.-focused companies, which have not done as well as the rest of the stock market over the last year.

The U.S. economy has grown at a faster pace in the last few quarters, and usually the dollar gets stronger when economic growth picks up. But the economies of many other countries are growing at a faster pace, which has made currencies like the euro stronger compared to the dollar.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 57 cents to .19 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gained 29 cents to .82 per barrel in London.

OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX lost 0.4 percent and the CAC 40 in France added 0.1 percent. The British FTSE 100 was unchanged. Japan’s Nikkei 225 sank 1.1 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.9 percent. South Korea’s Kospi surged 1 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jayt