Health Care Leads Stocks Higher Early

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are rising Monday morning, with health care companies making some of the largest gains after biotechnology company Gilead Sciences agreed to buy cancer drug maker Kite Pharma for $11.9 billion. Wholesale gasoline prices are climbing as Tropical Storm Harvey hit battered the Texas Gulf Coast, which is home to many oil refineries. Overall, energy companies are down with the price of oil.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 2,444 as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average dipped 11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,802. The Nasdaq composite rose 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,278. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,380.

KITE GOES SOARING: Gilead Sciences, which makes treatments for hepatitis C, HIV and other illnesses, will buy Kite Pharma for $11.9 billion, or $180 a share. Kite is studying treatments that can reprogram a patient's immune cells to attack tumors, and it hopes to win approval this year for a blood cancer treatment. Kite is one of several companies researching CAR-T therapies, and Kite and Gilead hope it will win marketing approval later this year.

Kite Pharma stock jumped $40, or 28.8 percent, to $179.10. Gilead gained $1.35, or 1.8 percent, to $75.14, and biotechnology companies like Biogen, Amgen and Celgene also rose.

STORMY WEATHER: Gas prices rose as Tropical Storm Harvey continued to hit parts of Texas with historically heavy rains. The National Weather Service says some parts of Houston and its suburbs could end up with as much as 50 inches of rain before the storm abates, which isn't expected to happen for days. The storm has shut down Texas' oil and gas industry, but it's unclear how much damage has been done. S&P Global analysts said about 2.2 million barrels per day of refining capacity was down or being brought down by Sunday.

Wholesale gasoline futures jumped 6 percent, to 3.6 percent, to $1.60 a gallon. Refining companies climbed, as they stand to benefit from higher gas prices. Valero Energy rose $1.53, or 2.3 percent, to $69.20 and Marathon Petroleum advanced 61 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $52.36.

BOOKED HIS DEPARTURE: Expedia slumped after sources told the AP that Dara Khosrowshahi, the travel booking site's CEO, was named as the new CEO of ride-hailing app Uber. Khosrowshahi has been CEO of Expedia since August of 2015. Two people briefed on the decision said Uber's board voted to hire him after three days of meetings, but the company had not yet formally announced the decision. Expedia's stock lost $6.14, or 4.1 percent, to $143.12.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 68 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $47.19 a barrel New York. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 7 cents to $51.91 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The euro reached its highest level since the beginning of 2015. It rose to $1.1939 from $1.1888. The European currency has been climbing recently because investors feel the European Central Bank isn't going to take steps to keep the euro from getting stronger. That would make exports from European countries more expensive in other markets.

The dollar inched up to 109.27 yen from 109.24 yen late Friday.

BONDS: Bond prices were little changed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note stayed at 2.17 percent. Banks lagged the rest of the market. They tend to rise when bond yields and interest rates move higher.

OVERSEAS: The CAC 40 in France fell 0.2 percent, as did the DAX in Germany. British markets were closed for a public holiday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index took a negligible loss and the South Korean Kospi lost 0.4 percent. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose less than 0.1 percent.

(BE)