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Sep 27, 11:33 AM EDT

Consumer companies lead indexes higher; energy drops


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NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are higher Tuesday as solid quarterly results from cruise line operator Carnival give travel-related companies a boost. Technology companies are also gaining. Energy companies are falling as the price of oil returns Monday's gains. A survey showed consumer confidence is at a nine-year high.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average gained 50 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,144 as of 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,150. The Nasdaq composite rose 24 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,281.

CONSUMER SURVEY: U.S. consumer confidence reached its highest level in nine years this month. The Conference Board said its index rose to 104.1 as consumers grew more optimistic about the labor market. The result was better than expected and the highest reading on the group's survey since August 2007.

TRAVELING MUSIC: Carnival and Royal Caribbean made some of the biggest gains on the S&P 500. Carnival rose $1.80, or 3.9 percent, to $48.27 after it posted solid quarterly results. Royal Caribbean added $2.12, or 3 percent, to $73.09, while Southwest Airlines climbed 98 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $37.85 and booking site Expedia gained $3.58, or 3.3 percent, to $112.67.

EARLY RISERS: Consumer and technology stocks were off to a strong start. Netflix, which has slumped 15 percent this year, rose $2.81, or 3 percent, to $97.37. Car parts retailer AutoZone added $18.97, or 252 percent, to $777.85 while Amazon gained $11.78, or 1.5 percent, to $810.94. Alphabet, Google's parent company, helped pull tech stocks higher as it rose $7.05 to $809.70. IBM gained $1.46 to $155.44.

OIL SLIDES: U.S. crude fell $1.56, or 3.4 percent, to $44.37 a barrel in New York. The international standard, Brent crude, lost $1.65, or 3.4 percent, to $46.28 a barrel in London. Oil prices rose 3 percent on Monday. Devon Energy lost $1.57, or 4 percent, to $38.07 and Halliburton sank $1, or 2.4 percent, to $40.38.

PUT IT ON MY AMEX: American Express gained 53 cents to $63.96. A federal appeals court ruled late Monday that the company didn't violate antitrust laws by preventing stores from asking customers to use one credit card over another and steering consumers to another type of payment. On Tuesday, the company said it will buy back as much as 150 million shares of its stock and raised its dividend to 32 cents from 29 cents.

ENERGY DEAL: Oil and natural gas company Rice Energy said it will buy Vantage Energy for $2.7 billion including debt. Rice Energy fell $1.94, or 7.2 percent, to $25.20. The Vantage business will become part of a separate Rice company called Rice Midstream Partners, and shares of that partnership rose $1.38, or 6.5 percent, to $22.69.

BONDS: Bond prices continued to rise. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.56 percent from 1.58 percent. Bond yields have been slipping for more than a week as investors waited for the Federal Reserve to make a decision on interest rates.

CHESA-OFF-PEAK: Chesapeake Energy fell following another sign activist investor Carl Icahn is reducing his involvement with the oil and gas company. On Tuesday Chesapeake said two directors resigned from its board. One of them, Vincent Intrieri, is a longtime associate of Icahn. Earlier this month Icahn cut his stake in the company to 4.6 percent from 9.4 percent. The stock slid 58 cents, or 8.7 percent, to $6.05.

FLY A KITE: Kite Pharma jumped after the company reported positive results from a study of its experimental lymphoma drug. The stock gained $5.16, or 9.4 percent, to $60.14.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 100.37 yen from 101.34 yen. The euro slid to $1.1199 from $1.1255.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC-40 lost 0.7 percent while Germany's DAX fell 0.8 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.5 percent lower. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.1 percent and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.8 percent. Seoul's Kospi advanced 0.9 percent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay

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