US Indexes Edge Higher Monday

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are higher Monday morning as technology and consumer-focused companies trade higher. Both industries would benefit if U.S. economic growth picks up in the New Year. Bond yields are slipping, which is giving a lift to real estate investment trusts, which pay large dividends. Energy companies are slipping with the price of oil.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 33 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,875 as of 9:53 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,263. The Nasdaq composite added 23 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,459. The Dow has risen for six weeks in a row, although last week's move was small. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq both slipped last week.

EARLY LEADERS: Microsoft added 63 cents, or 1 percent, to $62.93 and Texas Instruments advanced 71 cents, or 1 percent, to $73.60. Boeing added $2.09, or 1.4 percent, to $156.59. United Technologies picked up $1.64, or 1.5 percent, to $110.16 as industrial companies moved up. The sector is at all-time highs as analysts hope for consistently stronger economic growth, based in part on some of President-elect Donald Trump's infrastructure spending proposals.

GOING ROGUE: Disney led consumer-focused companies higher after "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" brought in an estimated $155 million in ticket sales in its first weekend. That was better than expected and the second-best December opening ever, after "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" last year. Disney climbed $2.18, or 2.1 percent, to $106.09.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note slid to 2.55 percent from 2.60 percent late Friday. Banks traded lower, as reduced bond yields are linked to lower interest rates.

When bond prices rise and yields slip, investors often turn their attention to companies that pay big dividends, similar to bonds. Monday morning that led to gains for real estate companies. Welltower rose $1.44, or 2.2 percent, to $66.62 and HCP gained 71 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $29.85. Real estate investment trusts have struggled recently. They have mostly missed out on the rally following the presidential election and they are the worst-performing part of the S&P 500 over the last three months.

INSURANCE DEAL: Insurance company Allied World Assurance will be bought by Fairfax Financial Holdings of Canada for $54 a share in cash and stock, or $4.7 billion. Its stock jumped $5.41, or 11.8 percent, to $51.19.

HOME SWEET HOME: Lennar delivered more homes during the fourth quarter and booked more new orders. The homebuilder's profit and revenue was stronger than analysts expected in the fourth quarter, and the company said it expects to do well even if interest and mortgage rates rise. Its stock climbed $1.13, or 2.6 percent, to $44.55.

ENERGY: Crude oil lost 17 cents to $51.73 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 31 cents to $54.90 a barrel in London. Energy companies took small losses. They're trading at their highest prices in about 18 months after a big six-week rally.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slid to 117.16 yen from 118.01 yen. The euro edged up to $1.0441 from $1.0433.

OVERSEAS: The FTSE 100 index in Britain added 0.1 percent while Germany's DAX was unchanged. In France the CAC-40 was 0.2 percent lower. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.1 percent while in South Korea the Kospi edged 0.2 percent lower and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.9 percent.

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