Stocks clawing back more lost ground with 4th straight gain

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NEW YORK (AP) – US stocks are clawing back more of the ground they lost last week and approaching record high levels Tuesday. Banks were rising in tandem with interest rates, which will allow them to charge higher rates on loans. Gains for health care and beverage companies are also contributing. Consumer-focused companies like auto parts retailers and homebuilders are down, and auto parts companies are falling after weak results from AutoZone.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,399 as of 3 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 56 points, or 0.3 percent, to 20,950. The Nasdaq composite rose 4 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,137 as technology companies lagged the market. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks also turned higher and gained 5 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,381.

BONDS: Bond prices turned lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.28 percent from 2.25 percent. That helped bank stocks including JPMorgan Chase, which gained 95 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $85.66, and BB&T, which rose 63 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $43.04. High-dividend companies like utilities also traded higher.

SCOPE THIS OUT: Scientific instrument maker Agilent Technologies rose after its second-quarter profit and sales beat Wall Street estimates. The company also raised its annual profit forecast. Its shares gained $2.8, or 3.9 percent, to $58.26. Industrial and medical device maker Danaher picked up 96 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $83.87. Drug companies including Celgene and Eli Lilly also climbed.

THE QUOTE: Stocks are on track for their fourth gain in a row. They took their biggest fall of the year last Wednesday but have now recovered most of that loss.

“The market was simply reminded that there’s political risk out there and it reacted to that reminder,” said Matthew Peterson, chief wealth strategist for LPL Financial. Peterson said he doesn’t think long-term investors have made big changes to their portfolios in response to last week’s drop, which followed allegations President Donald Trump asked the FBI to end an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Peterson says high stock prices and the calm market makes stocks more vulnerable to surprises from the political arena.

BLOWING A GASKET: Auto parts retailer AutoZone stumbled a weak quarter, as costs were higher and sales at older locations fell. Its stock fell $68.56, or 10.4 percent, to $590.93. O’Reilly Automotive sank $7.06, or 2.8 percent, to $241.40 and Advance Auto Parts gave up $5.86, or 4 percent, to $141.51. All three have tumbled this year as investors worried about slowing car sales.

NETWORKING: Nokia climbed after the company said it settled its legal disputes with Apple. The two companies said they will work together and that Nokia will get a cash payment from Apple. The Finnish company was once the biggest cellphone maker in the world, but it sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2014 and is now a network infrastructure provider. Its U.S. shares rose 33 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $6.54 Tuesday. Apple dipped 48 cents to $153.51.

POWER UP: Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software jumped after it fourth-quarter profit and sales surpassed analyst expectations. The company’s games include the “Grand Theft Auto” ”NBA2K” and “Sid Meier’s Civilization” franchises. The strong results canceled out a delay for another key game, “Red Dead Redemption 2,” which will be published next spring instead of later this year.

Take-Two stock jumped $3.28, or 4.8 percent, to $72.32. It has doubled over the last year. Rival Activision Blizzard added 61 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $57.73 and Electronic Arts rose 60 cents to $108.99.

HOME SALES SLOW: Sales of new homes fell 11 percent in April from the previous month. That was the biggest drop in more than two years. Economists expected a smaller decline since sales had reached a nine-year high in March, and experts said the decline was most likely a blip. Homebuilder NVR fell $84.96, or 3.6 percent, to $2,272.31. D.R. Horton lost 48 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $33.43 and Lennar sank 71 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $51.74. Home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s both slipped.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 34 cents to $51.47 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, picked up 28 cents to $54.15 a barrel in London.

OTHER ENERGY TRADING: Wholesale gasoline remained at $1.66 a gallon and heating oil finished where it started, at $1.61 a gallon. Natural gas sank 11 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $3.22 per 1,000 cubic feet.

METALS: Gold fell $5.90 to $1,255.50 an ounce. Silver lost 5 cents to $17.14 an ounce. Copper remained at $2.60 a pound.

OVERSEAS: European stocks traded slightly higher after key surveys of business activity and optimism hit their highest levels in years. That left investors hopeful that unemployment will start to decline and European economies will continue to gain strength.

The CAC 40 in France rose 0.5 percent. Germany’s DAX and the FTSE 100 index in Britain both added 0.2 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.1 percent. The South Korean Kospi gained 0.7 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.59 yen from 111.20 yen. The euro declined to $1.1188 from $1.1234.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP

His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 23, 2017, observe a moment of silence in the wake of the attack in Manchester, England. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Traders Gregory Rowe, left, and William Lawrence work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as technology companies post more gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Kevin Lodewick, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as technology companies post more gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Specialist Dilip Patel, right, works with traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as technology companies post more gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Frank O’Connell, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as technology companies post more gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader John Panin, foreground, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as technology companies post more gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Trader Peter Tuchman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as technology companies post more gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Specialist Peter Mazza, left, and trader Michael Capolino, right, work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as technology companies post more gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Specialist Anthony Rinaldi, left, works with traders Robert Arciero, center, and James Conti at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as technology companies post more gains. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
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