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Technology companies lead stocks higher after an early slide

Technology companies lead stocks higher after an early slide

February 5th, 2019 by the Associated Press in Business

FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2019, file photo specialists Mario Picone, left, and Glenn Carrell work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The U.S. stock market opens at 9:30 a.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 4. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Stocks recovered from an early wobble Monday, lifting the benchmark S&P 500 to its fourth straight gain.

Technology companies led the broad move higher, outweighing losses in health care, materials and utilities stocks.

The market had gotten off to a weak start after the government reported factory orders fell in November, but by midday major indexes had turned higher.

Investors remained focused on the latest batch of corporate earnings, including solid results from Clorox and Sysco. Google parent Alphabet posted results that topped Wall Street’s estimates after the close of regular trading.

Concerns over slower economic growth overshadowed a mostly positive January for stocks, with solid company earnings helping to offset some of those fears.

The S&P 500 index rose 18.34 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,724.87. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 175.48 points, or 0.7 percent, to 25,239.37. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite gained 83.67 points, or 1.2 percent, to 7,347.54.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 15.48 points, or 1 percent, to 1,517.54.

Stocks got off to a sluggish start as traders weighed a government report showing U.S. factory orders declined 0.6 percent in November. The drop, attributed mainly to lower demand for machinery and electrical equipment, surprised economists, who had forecast a slight increase.

The report is one of many that were delayed by a monthlong government shutdown. The long list of missing indicators makes it difficult to gauge the health of the economy and has prompted a cautious outlook from analysts.

Traders shrugged off the possible implications of the report by midday, however, as their attention turned back to company earnings.

Just under half of S&P 500 companies have reported results for the last three months of 2018. Of those, about 71 percent have turned in results that exceeded financial analysts’ forecasts, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.