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Stocks Edge Higher in Early Trade      12/11 09:22

   U.S. stock indexes edged higher in early trading Monday as gains in 
technology and energy companies outweighed losses among makers of packaged 
foods and other consumer goods. 

   (AP) -- U.S. stock indexes edged higher in early trading Monday as gains in 
technology and energy companies outweighed losses among makers of packaged 
foods and other consumer goods. The start of trading in Bitcoin futures helped 
lift shares in companies that accept the virtual currency. Oil prices rose.

   KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4 points, or 0.2 
percent, to 2,655 as of 10:07 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial 
average gained 37 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,366. The Nasdaq composite added 
15 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,855. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company 
stocks picked up 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,524.

   CENTRAL BANK WATCH: Investors have their eye this week on the Federal 
Reserve, which is scheduled to issue an interest rate policy update on 
Wednesday. The Fed is expected to lift rates by 0.25 percent. That would be the 
third interest rate hike by the central bank this year.

   TECH SWELL: Gains among technology companies helped lift the market. 
Advanced Micro Devices rose 12 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $10.06.

   BITCOIN: Trading in Bitcoin futures began Sunday. They fell slightly in 
early trading Monday from their overnight high on the Chicago Board Options 
Exchange. The contract that expires in January was trading at $17,800. The 
price of an actual bitcoin has soared since it began the year below $1,000 and 
on Friday was at $16,551 on the private exchange Coindesk.

   Overstock.com, which accepts Bitcoin, surged $7.63, or 16.9 percent, to 
$52.70. 

   ICAHN DO IT: Xerox shares rose on news that Carl Icahn will nominate four 
directors to the company's board. One Xerox director linked to Icahn resigned 
as the activist investor called off a standstill agreement with Xerox that 
started in June 2016. Xerox added 18 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $29.77.

   UNAPPETIZING: Several packaged food and beverage stocks were trading lower. 
Hormel Foods slid 51 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $36.73.

   BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.36 
percent from 2.38 percent late Friday.

   ENERGY: The price of oil edged up, with benchmark U.S. crude gaining 19 
cents to $57.56 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, 
the international standard, rose 46 cents to $63.86 per barrel in London.

   The pickup in oil prices helped boost energy sector stocks. Chesapeake 
Energy added 12 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $3.80.

   CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 113.42 yen from 113.51 yen late Friday. 
The euro rose to $1.1789 from $1.1768.

   MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany's DAX was little changed, while the CAC 
40 in France slipped 0.1 percent. Britain's added 0.8 percent. Earlier in Asia, 
Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index climbed 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng 
index gained 1.0 percent. The S&P ASX 200 in Australia edged 0.1 percent 
higher. South Korea's Kospi picked up 0.3 percent. India's Sensex rose 0.2 
percent. Shares in Southeast Asia also rose. 


(BE)

 
 
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