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Banks and tech companies help stocks higher; drugmakers dive

Specialist Mario Picone, wearing a tribute badge in

Specialist Mario Picone, wearing a tribute badge in honor of deceased colleague William Bott, works on the floor of the NYSE, Oct. 19, 2017.  Credit: AP / Richard Drew

U.S. stocks rose Thursday as gains for technology companies and banks helped the market recover some of its losses from earlier in the week. Drugmakers and distributors tumbled.

The European Central Bank said Thursday it will begin gradually reducing the bond purchases it’s been making to strengthen the regional economy.

Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist for Wells Fargo Investment Institute, said investors were relieved the bank did not announce a bigger cut in bond purchases or take more aggressive steps.

“The market was a little bit fearful that the ECB was going to be more hawkish,” he said. “That wasn’t the case.”

Technology companies recovered some of the ground they lost a day ago, and banks and credit card companies jumped as bond yields continued to climb.

Drugmakers sank after Celgene and Bristol-Myers Squibb slashed their forecasts. Late in the day, drugstores and companies that distribute medications sank on reports Amazon is taking steps to move into the pharmaceutical business by getting licenses to distribute medications wholesale.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.25 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,560.40. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 71.40 points, or 0.3 percent, to 23,400.86. The Nasdaq composite lost 7.12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,556.77.

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