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Dec 15, 11:30 AM EST

US stocks move broadly higher in morning trading; oil rising


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AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

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U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in morning trading Friday, erasing modest losses from the day before. Technology companies, banks, and health care stocks were among the biggest gainers. Investors weighed the latest batch of company earnings news. They also kept an eye on Washington, where GOP lawmakers sought to line up enough votes to push a sweeping tax overhaul package forward.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 19 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,671 as of 11:25 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 140 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,648. The Nasdaq added 51 points, or 0.8 percent, to 6,908. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 15 points, or 1 percent, to 1,522.

TAXING TIME: Congressional Republicans were set to unveil their sweeping tax package Friday amid uncertainty about whether they have the votes to pass it in the Senate. Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio was a potential holdout. He wrote on Twitter Friday morning that he was still dissatisfied with the size of a tax credit that low-income families can claim for their children.

"The tax bill seems to be the driver right now," said Erik Davidson, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. "The market just thinks it will get done."

TECH RALLY: Technology stocks were notching solid gains. Western Union rose 47 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $19.65.

BANKING ON FINANCIALS: Banks and other financial companies were among the biggest gainers. Navient added 45 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $13.07.

BIG-BOX BEAT: Costco Wholesale rose 3.9 percent after the warehouse club operator's latest quarterly earnings and sales came in well above financial analysts' expectations. The stock added $7.24 to $193.77.

SPARKED: Shares in Jabil gained 2 percent after the electronics manufacturer posted a bigger profit and better revenue than analysts had anticipated. The stock picked up 54 cents to $27.99.

BUY BUY BUY: Discovery Communications was up 3.4 percent after John Malone, one of the company's directors, disclosed that he had bought more stock in the cable channel operator. The stock added 68 cents to $20.72.

CLOUDY SKIES: Oracle fell 3.7 percent after the second-quarter performance of the business software company's cloud-computing business and its forecast for its current quarter disappointed traders. The stock slid $1.88 to $48.31.

OFF THE RAILS: CSX slumped 7.6 percent after the railroad operator said CEO Hunter Harrison is on leave "due to unexpected complications from a recent illness." The stock shed $4.37 to $52.95.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.37 percent from 2.35 percent late Thursday.

ENERGY: Oil futures were headed higher. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 29 cents to $57.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 4 cents to $63.35 per barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.65 yen from 112.18 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1765 from $1.1792.

THE BITCOIN TRADE: Bitcoin futures surged on their fifth day of trading, climbing $1,370, or 8.2 percent, to $18,170 on the Cboe Futures Exchange. The futures allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin. The average price of an actual bitcoin was $17,660 in trading on private exchanges, according to Coindesk. The price of the digital currency has soared this year, having begun 2017 under $1,000.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe were mixed. Germany's DAX was flat, while France's CAC 40 shed 0.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent after European Union leaders said they would allow the Brexit talks to move on to the next stage, including trade. Earlier in Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index dipped 0.6, while South Korea's Kospi climbed 0.5 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.1 percent.

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