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Stock indexes rise despite storm, North Korean missile test

Traders Michael Milano, left, and Daniel Leporin at

Traders Michael Milano, left, and Daniel Leporin at the NYSE, Aug. 7, 2017.  Credit: AP / Richard Drew

North Korea’s latest missile launch jolted the U.S. stock market Tuesday morning, but major indexes pulled back from those early losses and mostly finished higher as the weakening dollar gave technology and industrial companies a boost.

Investors bought bonds, which are traditionally considered safe assets, after North Korea fired a midrange ballistic missile that crossed over northern Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean. It seemed designed to show that North Korea can back up a threat to target the U.S. territory of Guam.

Energy and insurance companies continued to feel the effects of Tropical Storm Harvey, which is dumping record amounts of rain on the Gulf Coast. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 134 points when the market opened.

Investors’ fears eased as the day went on. As the dollar declined to two-and-a-half-year lows, companies that do a lot of business outside the U.S. climbed. A weaker dollar boosts their sales and helps their profits when they are converted back into dollars.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 2.06 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,446.30. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 56.97 points, or 0.3 percent, 21,865.37. The Nasdaq composite added 18.87 points, or 0.3 percent, to 6,301.89. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1.45 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,383.68. Still, most of the stocks on the New York Stock Exchange fell.

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