Auto Sales Pull Stocks Higher

Auto Sales Pull Stocks Higher

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are rising Wednesday morning as December auto sales start to roll in. General Motors and Ford are trading higher. That's helping consumer-focused companies. The market is building on its gains from the day before.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average added 30 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,911 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index jumped 8 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,265. The Nasdaq composite rose 24 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,453. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks outpaced the other indexes and advanced 9 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,374.

DRIVE MY CAR: Automakers are reporting their December sales on Wednesday. General Motors said its total sales climbed 10 percent from a year ago as Chevy sales increased, and its stock rose $1.25, or 3.6 percent, to $36.40. Ford climbed 36 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $12.95. Electric car maker Tesla Motors, which gave its own report late Tuesday, picked up $4.61, or 2.1 percent, to $221.60.

RETAIL RISING: Retailers also jumped after the opening bell. Gap rose 83 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $24.31 and office supply company Staples gained 28 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $9.17. Discount retailer Dollar Tree added $2.34, or 3 percent, to $79.79.

EAT UP: Shake Shack rose $1.81, or 5 percent, to $37.94. The company will be added to the S&P SmallCap 600 index after the close of trading Wednesday. When a company is added to a major stock index it typically trades higher as it's added to various portfolios. The burger chain will replace Chemours, a former unit of DuPont, which will become part of the S&P 500.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dipped 5 cents to $52.28 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, slid 4 cents to $55.43 a barrel in London. Energy companies traded slightly lower. The price of natural gas fell 1.3 percent after an 11-percent plunge Tuesday.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 117.36 yen from 117.68 yen. The euro edged up to $1.0451 from $1.0410.

BONDS: Bond prices held steady. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.45 percent.

OVERSEAS: France's CAC 40 edged down 0.1 percent and in Germany the DAX was 0.2 percent lower. The FTSE 100 of Britain was little changed. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 added 2.5 percent in its first trading day of 2017. That was partly because the weak yen will help Japanese exporters like Honda. South Korea's Kospi gained nearly 0.1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng dipped 0.1 percent.

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