Tech Leads Stocks Up Early Thursday

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks moved broadly higher in early trading on Wall Street Thursday as technology stocks offset declines in the banking sector.

Apple rose 2.8 percent as it continues to announce new products. Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants soared 6.4 percent after reporting earnings that were far better than analysts were expecting.

Biogen, a major biotechnology company, took a 29 percent nosedive after stopping a trial for an Alzheimer's drug. Other health care stocks also fell. JPMorgan led a decline in banks with a loss of 1.8 percent.

Bond prices continued to rise, sending yields lower, a day after the Federal Reserve said it expected the economy to slow down and that it no longer expected to raise interest rates this year.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 62 points, or 0.2 percent, to 25,806 as of 10:20 a.m. The S&P 500 index rose 0.3 percent and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.4 percent.

BIOGEN BOMBS: The biotechnology giant plunged after the company halted development of a highly anticipated Alzheimer's drug. The company and its partner determined that the drug would likely be ineffective.

Like its peers, the drugmaker spends heavily on research and development in the hopes that revenue from a successful drug will make up for the costs.

GUESS NOT: Clothing retailer Guess gave investors a disappointing fourth-quarter report and forecast, sending shares 14.5 percent lower.

The company's fourth-quarter profit and revenue both came up short of forecasts. Its profit forecast for the year also fell far shy of Wall Street's expectations.

(BE)