Stock Market Surges as Tech Companies Lead the Way


Stocks in the U.S. were rising Tuesday as Netflix leds a rally in internet and technology companies after saying it will raise prices for its subscription plans in the U.S.

Health care companies rose and banks fell as major companies including UnitedHealth and JPMorgan Chase announced their fourth-quarter results.

The British pound is weakening as U.K. legislators prepare to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan detailing the country’s departure from the European Union. The proposal appears likely to be rejected.

Asian stocks rose after China’s government said it plans to cut taxes.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 19 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,601 at 11 a.m. Eastern time. It had slipped for two days in a row after a six-day winning streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 90 points, or 0.4 percent, to 24,000. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite jumped 86 points, or 1.3 percent, to 6,991. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 5 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,438.

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BANDER-SNATCHING MORE DOLLARS: Netflix announced the biggest price increase in its history. The price of its most popular video-streaming plan will rise to $13 per month from $11. That will help to pay for Netflix’s huge investment in original shows and films and finance the heavy debt it has assumed to ward off rivals such as Amazon, Disney and AT&T. Its stock climbed 5.8 percent to $352.22. Netflix stock has jumped more than 30 percent in 2019 but was worth almost $420 a share in July.

Elsewhere, Facebook gained 2.8 percent to $149.47 and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, picked up 2.1 percent to $1,073. Microsoft rose 2.4 percent to $104.46 and Adobe climbed 2.8 percent to $241.07.

BANKS BOINK: JPMorgan Chase’s fourth-quarter profits badly missed analysts’ expectations on Tuesday as its bond-trading business struggled during the extremely volatile fourth quarter. Its stock lost 0.8 percent to $100.11.

Citigroup also reported weak results from its bond trading business Monday. While banks with trading desks typically benefit from volatility, the last three months of 2018 were too wild even for traders on Wall Street.

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Wells Fargo, the consumer banking giant, said its fourth-quarter profits fell slightly on Tuesday as the bank remains restrained by federal regulators, who put a tight leash on it after years of scandals and missteps. It gave up 2.5 percent to $47.19.

BRITAIN VOTE: British lawmakers will begin their vote Tuesday afternoon, after the U.K. stock market closes. It still appears the plan will be voted down. Lawmakers who want Britain to leave the EU say the deal will leave Britain bound indefinitely to EU rules, while pro-EU politicians favor an even closer economic relationship with the bloc than the one May and European leaders negotiated.

If the deal is defeated, it’s not clear what will happen to May’s government or the economies and financial systems of Britain and the rest of Europe. Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29.

The pound weakened to $1.2806 from $1.2865, and the British FTSE 100 index rose 0.7 percent. It’s down 11 percent over the last year.

PAINT IT BLACK: Paint and coatings maker Sherwin-Williams said it was “disappointed” with its sales in October and November, and its profit and sales in the fourth quarter fell short of Wall Street’s estimates. Its stock fell 5.7 percent to $375.20. Other coatings makers also struggled. 3M shed 1.5 percent to $189.37 and PPG Industries lost skidded 1.5 percent to $100.43. Home improvement retailer Home Depot gave up 1.32 percent to $176.60 and Lowe’s slid 2.2 percent to $94.79.

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HEALTH CARE GETS A CHECKUP: UnitedHealth rose 2.3 percent to $253.97 after saying its Optum pharmacy benefits management business had another strong quarter. United is the largest health insurer in the U.S. and the first to report its results, so it’s often seen as a bellwether for the industry.

Boston Scientific and Edwards ended a lawsuit over patents that cover products including replacement heart valves and valve repair devices. Edwards paid Boston Scientific $180 million. Edwards jumped 7.9 percent to $161.24 and Boston Scientific gained 4.3 percent to $36.82.

CHINA’S ECONOMY: Chinese leaders plan to slash taxes, increase government spending, and provide financing to private and small enterprises in a bid to strengthen the world’s second-largest economy. China is enduring its worst slowdown since the global financial crisis amid a punishing tariffs dispute with the U.S.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rebounded 2 percent, wiping out a loss on Monday. It’s moved higher this month but is still down almost 19 percent from its peak in late January 2018.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, reopening after a market holiday, added 1 percent. The Kospi in South Korea jumped 1.6 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 2.8 percent to $51.74 a barrel in New York. The international standard, Brent crude, gained 2.1 percent to $60.21 a barrel in London.

BONDS: Bond prices slipped after an early gain. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained at 2.71 percent.

EUROPE: Germany’s DAX edged 0.2 percent higher, erasing an earlier loss after new data showed the country’s economy slowed last year to its weakest pace in five years. German bond prices climbed, sending yields lower. The CAC 40 in France picked up 0.4 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.51 yen from 108.20 yen. The euro dipped to $1.1441 from $1.1465.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

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