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Oct 20, 10:35 AM EDT

Banks, technology lead early gains for US stocks; oil falls


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AP Photo/Richard Drew

U.S. stocks were up slightly in early trading Friday as investors cheered a crop of strong company earnings. Technology companies posted some of the biggest gains. A jump in bond yields also helped lift bank shares. Consumer products companies lagged the most. Energy stocks declined following a slide in crude oil prices.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 9 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,571 as of 10:18 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 69 points, or 0.3 percent, to 23,232. The Nasdaq composite added 32 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,637. The S&P 500 and Dow hit record highs on Thursday.

BIG GAINER: Technology sector companies led the market higher. PayPal Holdings was the second-biggest gainer in S&P 500, climbing $3.66, or 5.4 percent, to $70.91. Alliance Data Systems added $6.51, or 2.8 percent, to $239.31.

BULLISH ON BANKS: Investors bid up shares in banks as bond yields surged. Higher bond yields allow banks to charge higher interest rates on mortgages and other loans. Synchrony Financial gained $1.77, or 5.6 percent, to $33.48. Citizens Financial Group picked up 83 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $38.26. Both also reported higher quarterly earnings than analysts had been expecting.

UNPLEASANT SURPRISE: General Electric fell 2.8 percent after slashing its earnings forecasts and reporting a weak quarter. The stock lost 66 cents to $22.92.

TAX CUT NEXT?: The passing of a $4 trillion budget resolution in the Senate stoked hopes on Wall Street that President Donald Trump's tax reform package will be enacted. The measure, which passed narrowly late Thursday and now goes to the House of Representatives, sets the stage for tax legislation later this year that could pass through the Senate without fear of a filibuster by Democrats. It also adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. Investors' expectations that such a plan would slash the corporate tax rate, among other business-friendly changes, helped fuel Wall Street's gains this year.

BONDS YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.38 percent from 2.32 percent late Thursday.

ENERGY: Oil futures were mixed. Benchmark U.S. crude lost 11 cents to $51.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 26 cents to $57.49 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 113.47 yen from 112.65 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $1.1784 from $1.1830.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.1 percent, while the CAC 40 in France added 0.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.2 percent higher. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 finished less than 0.1 percent higher ahead of parliamentary elections on Sunday. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's party is expected to retain a comfortable lead. Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi added 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rebounded 1.2 percent after a big sell-off the day before.

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