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Markets make small gains on tech stock boost

A sign for Wall Street is displayed on

A sign for Wall Street is displayed on the side of building near the New York Stock Exchange in March. Retail sales are particularly important as they account for around 70 percent of the U.S. economy. (March 4, 2013) Credit: AP

Major stock indexes eked out small gains Tuesday after an upturn in technology companies outweighed weakness in other parts of the market, including a drop in airlines.

The gain in technology stocks was driven by Apple. The technology company surged after billionaire investor Carl Icahn said on Twitter that he held a large position in Apple and that its stock was undervalued.

A sharp rise in Treasury yields also rippled through the stock market. The yield on the 10-year note climbed to 2.72 percent, close to its highest in two years, on the latest signs that Europe is emerging from its recession. The rise in yields lifted financial companies because higher interest rates could help them generate better profit margins.

The yield is also climbing on speculation the Federal Reserve will cut its stimulus as the economy recovers. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart Tuesday hinted it would likely happen before the end of the year.

Airline stocks slumped after the federal government challenged the proposed merger of US Airways and American Airlines, a deal between two of the largest carriers.The S&P 500 index rose 0.28 percent to 1,694.16. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.39 percent to 3,684.44. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 31.33 points to 15,451.01.-- AP

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