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Defense and aerospace companies lead stocks higher

Specialist Brian Fairbrother, left, and trader Tommy Kalikas

Specialist Brian Fairbrother, left, and trader Tommy Kalikas work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks are higher Monday as software and chip makers and other technology companies climb. Defense contractors are also rising as the market bounces back from a turbulent week. Ford is up after it replaced CEO Mark Fields.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 11 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,392 as of 12:40 p.m. Monday on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average added 88 points, or 0.4 percent, to 20,892. The Nasdaq composite gained 41 points, or 0.7 percent, to 6,124. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 7 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,374.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both set records early last week before worries about growing political uncertainty in Washington, and its potential effects on President Trump’s agenda of tax cuts and deregulation, knocked those indexes back from their highs. The S&P 500 is about 1 percent below its highest close, but the Russell 2000, which contains companies that might get bigger benefits from Trump’s proposals, is down more than 3 percent from the record it set one month ago.

AEROSPACE GAINS ALTITUDE: Aerospace and defense companies climbed after President Trump presided over a $110 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. The agreement could expand to $350 billion over 10 years. It appeared to reverse an Obama administration to pause sales of precision-guided munitions to the kingdom. Lockheed Martin climbed $4.30, or 1.6 percent, to $277.09 and Boeing gained $2.81, or 1.6 percent, to $183.57. General Dynamics rose $1.98, or 1 percent, to $197.85.

SAVE TO THE CLOUD: Technology companies did better than the rest of the market, as they’ve done throughout this year. Qualcomm, the world’s largest chipmaker, gained $1.34, or 2.3 percent, to $59.02 and Cisco Systems, which sells equipment like routers, switches and software, rose 55 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $31.76. Adobe Systems picked up $2.54, or 1.9 percent, to $138.97 and design software maker Autodesk jumped $3.01, or 2.7 percent, to $112.92.

DRIVEN OFF: Ford replaced CEO Mark Fields as the automaker struggles to keep the traditional parts of its business running smoothly while it remakes itself as a nimble, high-tech provider of new mobility services. Fields was CEO for three years, but under his leadership popular cars like the Fusion sedan became dated and Ford lagged competitors in bringing long-range electric cars to market. New CEO is Jim Hackett, who has led Ford’s mobility unit for more than a year.

Ford added 18 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $11.05. The stock is down 9 percent this year.

CHEMISTRY: Swiss specialty chemicals maker Clariant and Huntsman Corp. are merging to create a company with a market value of $13.8 billion. The company will call itself HuntsmanClariant and Clariant shareholders will own 52 percent of the new company. Huntsman stock slid 42 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $26.29 and Clariant stock rose 3.4 percent in Switzerland.

METAL TESTED: Arconic jumped after the aluminum products company ended a contentious proxy dispute with activist investor Elliott Management. Elliott will get more input as Arconic picks its next CEO, and it will nominate three directors to the company’s board. Arconic agreed to nominate two others, and a third board member resigned and was replaced by a candidate Arconic chose. A month ago, Klaus Kleinfeld was ousted as Arconic’s chairman and CEO after he sent a threatening letter to Paul Singer, Elliott’s founder and Arconic’s largest shareholder.

Arconic stock gained 19 cents to $27.77.

SIDE EFFECT CONCERNS: Amgen and its partner UCB said women who took their experimental osteoporosis drug Evenity were more likely to have serious cardiovascular problems than patients who took Fosamax, an older drug. The companies said that was a new safety concern. They also said Evenity reduced bone fractures in two clinical trials. The studies involved women who had gone through menopause.

Amgen lost $3.36, or 2.1 percent, to $153.15.

ENERGY: Oil prices continued to rally and benchmark U.S. crude oil added 43 cents to $50.76 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 31 cents to $53.92 a barrel in London. However energy companies traded lower. Halliburton lost 57 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $47.21 and Pioneer Natural Resources gave up $2.48, or 1.4 percent, to $174.14.

BONDS: Bond prices moved a bit lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note inched up to 2.25 percent from 2.24 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 111.17 yen from 111.20 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1234 from $1.1205.

OVERSEAS: In Britain, the FTSE 100 gained 0.3 percent. The German DAX dipped 0.2 percent and France’s CAC lost a fraction of a percentage point. Japan’s market rose following strong trade data. The benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 percent while the South Korean Kospi jumped 0.7 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng surged 0.9 percent.

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