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Stocks climb on Wall Street, led by tech companies and banks

Trader Tommy Kalikas, left, works on the floor

Trader Tommy Kalikas, left, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Credit: AP / Richard Drew

Stocks are rising Monday as technology companies, banks, consumer-focused companies and industrial companies all make big gains after the Chinese government said that country’s economy grew at a slightly faster pace in the first quarter. Investors are getting back to trading after a long weekend for the Easter holiday.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 13 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,342 as of 1:35 p.m. Monday on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 131 points, or 0.6 percent, to 20,584. The Nasdaq composite picked up 33 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,838. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,351.

Leaders included chipmaker Nvidia, which gained $3.20, or 3.4 percent, to $98.69, and Google parent company Alphabet, which picked up $11.79, or 1.4 percent, to $851.97. Among consumer companies, online retail giant Amazon jumped $13.16, or 1.5 percent, to $897.83 and streaming video company Netflix added $4.02, or 2.8 percent, to $146.94. Netflix will report its quarterly results after the market closes.

CHINA: China’s recovering economy appeared to get stronger in the first quarter, as it grew 6.9 percent compared to a year ago. That was a slightly faster pace than the quarter before, and the world’s second-largest economy grew at its slowest pace in almost 30 years in 2016. Policies aimed at tempering the slowdown included higher spending on construction of infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Relatively cheap credit spurred booming property sales.

LET’S NOT SPLIT UP: Medical device maker Alere surged after it accepted a new, lower buyout offer from Abbott Laboratories. Under the new agreement Abbott will pay $51 a share, or about $5.3 billion. Abbott agreed to buy Alere more than a year ago for $56 per share, or $5.8 billion, but filed a lawsuit to end the deal after Alere recalled a key product, delayed filing a financial statement, and faced an investigation into its business outside the U.S.

Alere climbed $6.85, or 16.2 percent, to $49.27. It had traded as low as $31.47 last July, as investors worried the deal would fall apart after news of the investigation broke. Abbott rose 39 cents to $43.06.

ACHES AND PAINS: Eli Lilly and Incyte stumbled after the Food and Drug Administration refused to approve their much-anticipated pill for the immune disorder rheumatoid arthritis. Incyte said the FDA wants more clinical data about the drug’s dosing and safety, and that may mean the companies will have to run more studies of the drug. That could further delay its approval and force them to spend more.

Lilly has high hopes for Olumiant because it’s a pill instead of an injection like most other new rheumatoid arthritis drugs. It’s already approved in Europe. Lilly lost $3.23, or 3.8 percent, to $82.65. Incyte sank $15.85, or 11.3 percent, to $124.99.

CRUNCHED: Pretzel, nuts and salty snack maker Snyder’s-Lance is tumbling after it gave a weak first-quarter forecast that included more spending on marketing and lower profit margins and then slashed its forecast for the year. Snyder’s-Lance also said its CEO Carl Lee Jr. retired and Brian Driscoll will be its interim CEO. Driscoll was the CEO of Diamond Foods, a company Snyder’s-Lance bought in 2016 for more than $1 billion. Snyder’s-Lance dropped $6.29, or 15.8 percent, to $33.63.

RETURN TO SENDER: Arconic jumped after the company said chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld agreed to step down after the board of directors discovered that he sent a letter to Arconic’s largest shareholder, activist investment firm Elliott Management, without telling the board. Arconic said that was “poor judgment.” It didn’t say what Kleinfeld wrote in the letter.

Arconic makes aluminum, titanium and nickel parts for planes, cars and electronics and it was spun off from aluminum company Alcoa last year. Elliott has been pushing the company to replace Kleinfeld to improve returns for shareholders. The stock gained 95 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $26.85.

PATH TO A NEW DEAL? Wireless spectrum license company Straight Path Communications climbed after it said it might get a new buyout offer. A week ago it agreed to be bought by AT&T for about $1.25 billion. Straight Path said it was contacted by another company Thursday. Straight Path stock rose $15.50, or 16.9 percent, to $107.20. Investors are now valuing the company at $1.34 billion.

BONDS: Bond prices inched higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slipped to 2.23 percent from 2.24 percent. While that usually hurts banks, on Monday they recovered some of their recent losses. They are the worst-performing part of the market recently thanks to sharp declines in bond yields and interest rates.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 4 cents to $52.7 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 38 cents to $55.51 per barrel in London. Energy companies lagged the rest of the market.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 108.50 yen from 109.16 yen. The euro rose to $1.0652 from $1.0612.

OVERSEAS: Markets in Hong Kong, France, Germany and Britain were all closed for the Easter holiday. In Japan the Nikkei 225 index gained 0.1 percent and South Korea’s Kospi added 0.5 percent.

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