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Wall Street Higher on Tech, Health Care12/12 15:48

   U.S. stocks couldn't hang on to a big gain Wednesday, but they still 
finished broadly higher as technology and health care companies rose. 

   NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks couldn't hang on to a big gain Wednesday, but 
they still finished broadly higher as technology and health care companies 
rose. That helped reverse some of the market's big losses from the week before.

   Stocks initially rallied after the Wall Street Journal reported that China's 
government could make changes to its "Made in China 2025" economic development 
plan. That could be one step toward easing dispute between the world's two 
largest economies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged as much as 458 
points in morning trading, but gave later back much of that gain.

   "Any time you get some semblance of good news on trade, you've had this 
tendency to see a pretty sharp rally," said Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment 
strategist for Charles Schwab.

   After taking steep losses at the end of last week, stocks have gyrated this 
week: on Monday they rallied to erase a big early loss, while on Tuesday a big 
morning gain turned into a small decline.

   On Wednesday, most of the day's gains evaporated in the afternoon. The 
hour-to-hour changes reflect investors' nervousness about the health of the 
global economy: economic growth is expected to slow in 2019 and the U.S.-China 
trade dispute and rising interest rates could both make that slowdown more 
painful. Sonders said investors overlooked those threats for a time, but can't 
ignore them anymore.

   "Some of these intraday reversals have been quite extraordinary," said 
Sonders. "You have to go back to the financial crisis era to see ... such a big 
swing on consecutive days."

   The S&P 500 index rose 14.29 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,651.07. The Dow 
gained 157.03 points, or 0.6 percent, to 24,527.27. The Nasdaq composite jumped 
66.48 points, or 0.9 percent, to 7,098.31. The Russell 2000 index of 
smaller-company stocks added 15.19 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,455.32.

   Among technology companies, chipmaker Broadcom gained 3.3 percent to 
$254.98. Amazon gained 1.2 percent to $1,663.54 to lead retailers, and Netflix 
jumped 3.6 percent to $274.88 as internet and media companies joined in the 
gains.

   Among industrials, machinery maker Caterpillar climbed 1.7 percent to 
$125.37 and equipment rental company United Rentals surged 6.3 percent to 
$108.30 after it gave strong forecasts for 2019 and said it will start buying 
back stock this month.

   Through the "Made in China 2025" initiative, Beijing aims to create leading 
companies in fields like artificial intelligence, electric cars and robotics. 
The Trump administration says the government is unfairly subsidizing Chinese 
companies and discriminating against foreign rivals. Along with disputes over 
China's handling of intellectual property, it's a significant piece of the 
trade tensions between the countries.

   Despite Wednesday's gains, almost half of the 500 stocks that make up the 
S&P 500 have fallen into a "bear market," meaning they have dropped at least 20 
percent from their most recent peaks. The S&P 500 itself is down 9.5 percent 
from its record high in late September. The last bear market for the index 
ended in March 2009.

   British legislators forced a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Theresa 
May, threatening an end to her tenure. She won the vote, which was revealed 
after the close of U.S. trading. Lawmakers within May's Conservative Party have 
expressed frustrations over her negotiations of Britain's departure from the 
European Union, and many of them want a cleaner break from the trading bloc. 
Opposition lawmakers don't want Britain to leave the EU.

   The uncertainty has knocked the British pound sharply lower in recent days, 
but it rose Wednesday to $1.2634 from $1.2527. The FTSE 100 stock index added 
1.1 percent.

   Deutsche Bank jumped after Bloomberg News reported that the German 
government might take steps to make it easier for the struggling bank to 
combine with competitor Commerzbank. U.S.-traded shares of Deutsche Bank gained 
8.4 percent to $9.03, but they're still down 52.5 percent this year and have 
fallen almost 80 percent over the past five years as the company reels from 
weak results and investments in Greek and Italian bonds that went bad.

   Commerzbank stock added 5.6 percent in Frankfurt. 

   Bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.91 
percent from 2.88 percent.

   Tencent Music Entertainment, the largest music streaming service in China, 
climbed 7.7 percent in its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange. 
The company's IPO of 82 million shares priced at $13 a share and closed at $14 
a share. Slightly more than half are being sold by the company and the rest are 
being sold by shareholders.

   The CAC 40 in France surged 2.1 percent and Germany's DAX rose 1.4 percent. 
Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 jumped 2.2 percent and South Korea's Kospi rose 
1.4 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.6 percent.

   Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 1 percent to $52.15 a barrel in New York. 
Brent crude, the international standard, lost 0.1 percent to $60.15 per barrel 
in London.

   Wholesale gasoline dipped 1.3 percent to $1.42 a gallon and heating oil was 
unchanged at $1.85 a gallon. Natural gas dropped 6.1 percent to $4.14 per 1,000 
cubic feet.

   The dollar dipped to 113.22 yen from 113.40 yen. The euro rose to $1.1367 
from $1.1325.

   The price of gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,250 an ounce, silver rose 1.5 
percent to $14.85 an ounce and copper edged up 0.1 percent to $2.77 a pound.


(BE)

 
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