Stocks Edge Higher in Afternoon Trade

Stocks Edge Higher in Afternoon Trade

(AP) -- Materials and technology companies helped lead U.S. stocks modestly higher in afternoon trading Monday, on course to extend the market's gains from last week. Energy stocks also rose as the price of crude oil rebounded from an early slide. Real estate companies were down the most. Several major retailers also slumped.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 5 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,430 as of 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 20 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,434. The Nasdaq composite rose 25 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,178. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,416. The indexes all rose on Friday.

LOOKING AHEAD: Investors are looking ahead to the next wave of corporate earnings, which begins this week. Pepsi and Delta Air Lines are among the big companies due to report their latest quarterly results. The market expects earnings per share growth of about 7 percent from companies in the S&P 500. The market also will be watching Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen's testimony to Congress on Wednesday and Thursday.

THE QUOTE: "We're going through a transition phase where interest rates and Fed policy were very friendly for quite some time and that was the most important support for the markets," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Baird. "Now we're moving more toward the revival of the global economy, including the U.S., and what that might mean for earnings prospects going forward, and the markets are now dwelling on that potential."

LEADING THE PACK: Materials companies were leading all other company sectors in afternoon trading. Mosaic gained $1.47, or 6.6 percent, to $24.08. CF Industries added $1.81, or 6.6 percent, to $29.71. Freeport-McMoRan climbed 68 cents, or 5.7 percent, to $12.58.

RETAIL SLUMP: Retailers were among the big decliners. Best Buy slid $3.67, or 6.3 percent, to $54.20. Gap fell $1.58, or 7 percent, to $21.07. Kohl's gave up $1.99, or 5.2 percent, to $36.25. Macy's fell $1.50, or 6.6 percent, to $21.18.

OFF THE MARKET: Abercrombie & Fitch slid 20.3 percent after the struggling teen fashion retailer said over the weekend that it is no longer up for sale. The company, which said in May it was talking with several possible buyers, said that sales remain strong at its surf-inspired Hollister brand and is continuing to work on improving the performance at Abercrombie. The stock shed $2.46 to $9.70.

TAKING A SWING: ClubCorp vaulted 30.5 percent after private equity firm Apollo Global Management agreed to buy the golf and country club company for $17.12 a share, or $1.1 billion. ClubCorp gained $4 to $17.10. Apollo was up 81 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $27.15.

DIALING DEALS: Hawaiian Telcom surged 18.5 percent on news the phone company will combine with Cincinnati Bell in a deal Hawaiian Telcom said is worth $650 million, or $30.75 per share of its stock. As part of the deal, Cincinnati Bell is buying another company, OnX Enterprise Solutions, for $201 million. Shares in Hawaiian Telcom added $4.51 to $28.95. Cincinnati Bell slid $1.65, or 8.5 percent, to $17.70.

BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.37 percent from 2.39 percent late Friday.

ENERGY: Oil prices rebounded after an early slide. Benchmark U.S. crude was up 27 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $44.50 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 24 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $46.95 a barrel in London.

MARKETS ABROAD: In Europe, Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent, while the CAC 40 in France gained 0.4 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares picked up 0.3 percent. Earlier in Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei index gained 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.7 percent. Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.4 percent. India's Sensex rose 0.9 percent. Kospi added 0.1 percent.

CURRENCY: The dollar rose to 114.11 yen from 113.99 yen late Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1406 from $1.1404.

(KA)