Stocks Climb in Early Trading

Stocks Climb in Early Trading

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks continued to rally on Wednesday, helped by rising oil prices and energy stocks. Yum Brands plunged after cutting its profit forecast for the year, citing weakness in China.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 137 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,925 as of 9:50 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 15 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,995 and the Nasdaq composite rose 33 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,781. The Dow has risen for the past three days, while the S&P 500 for five days out of the past six.

OIL REBOUND: Oil prices continued to advance, following reports that U.S. and foreign drillers are continuing to cut production. U.S. benchmark crude oil rose 96 cents, or 2 percent, to $49.46 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 94 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $53.40 a barrel in London.

Energy companies rose more than the rest of the market. Halliburton jumped $1.81, or 5 percent, to $40.82 and Transocean gained 50 cents, or 3 percent, to $16.25. Chevron rose $1.98, or 2 percent, to $88.99.

GROWTH DOWNGRADE: The upturn in energy markets helped keep a lid on concerns that the global economy is experiencing a downturn. Those concerns were stoked by a report from the IMF that China's slowdown and tumbling commodity prices will push global economic growth this year to the lowest level since the 2009 recession.

The fund forecasts the world economy to grow 3.1 percent this year, down from a July forecast of 3.3 percent and from 3.4 percent growth last year. The IMF expects Chinese economic growth to drop to a 25-year low 6.8 percent this year, but that is unchanged from its July forecast.

RUNNING AROUND LIKE A ... : KFC parent company YUM Brands sank $15.40, or 19 percent, to $67.96 after the restaurant chain operator's profits and sales missed analysts' expectations. Sales in China, a major market for KFC, rose only 2 percent, far less than expected.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.08 percent. Currency trading was subdued. The euro edged down to $1.1228 and the dollar slipped to 120.01 yen.

(BAS)