Global stocks jump as technology and energy companies rise

Global stocks jump as technology and energy companies rise
Trader Gregory Rowe works at the New York Stock Exchange, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — Global stock indexes jumped Wednesday to reverse some of their big losses from the week before. In the U.S., technology companies rallied and energy companies rose along with crude oil prices. Health care and industrial companies also jumped, while safer, high-dividend stocks like utilities and household goods makers were little changed.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 31 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,668 at 10:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 271 points, or 1.1 percent, to 24,641. The Nasdaq composite jumped 110 points, or 1.6 percent, to 7,142. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 19 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,460.

Stocks have gyrated this week after they took steep losses at the end of the week before. The repeated changes in direction reflect investors’ nervousness about the health of the global economy, as economic growth is expected to slow down in 2019 and the U.S.-China trade dispute and rising interest rates could both make that slowdown more painful.

EARLY LEADERS: Among technology companies, Microsoft rallied 2 percent to .79 and Apple added 1.3 percent to .87. Amazon gained 2.3 percent to ,681 and Netflix jumped 3.6 percent to .89 as internet and media companies joined in the gains.

Among industrials, Caterpillar climbed 2.5 percent to .27 and Boeing rose 1.4 percent to .50. Equipment rental company United Rentals surged 7.8 percent to .76 after it gave strong forecasts for 2019 and said it will start buying back more stock this month. The company said it stopped buying its own stock at the beginning of November following an acquisition.

TURMOIL IN BRITAIN: British legislators forced a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa May. The vote is scheduled for later Wednesday and could end May’s tenure and bring even more chaos into British politics. Lawmakers within the Conservative Party have expressed frustrations with May over her negotiations of Britain’s departure from the European Union, and many of them want a cleaner break from the trading bloc. Opposition lawmakers don’t want Britain to leave the EU.

The uncertainty has knocked the British pound sharply lower in recent days, but it rose Wednesday to .2622 from .2527. The British FTSE 100 stock index added 1.1 percent.

INFLATION WATCH: U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in November, according to the Labor Department. Prices had edged up over the previous seven months. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, rose 0.2 percent in November and is up 2.2 percent over the last year. However energy prices fell sharply as the price of crude oil plunged more than 20 percent in November.

OVERSEAS: The CAC 40 in France surged 2 percent and Germany’s DAX rose 1.3 percent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 2.2 percent and South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.4 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.6 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 0.7 percent to .02 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 1.5 percent to .08 per barrel in London.

BONDS: Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.89 percent from 2.88 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 113.29 yen from 113.40 yen. The euro rose to .1361 from .1325.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP