Tech Leads Early Gains for Stocks

(AP) -- U.S. stocks moved higher in early trading Thursday, led by big gains in technology companies. Consumer product makers and health care stocks also rose. Energy companies declined as the price of crude oil headed lower.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 14 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,578 as of 10:12 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 143 points, or 0.6 percent, to 23,414. The Nasdaq composite index added 60 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,766. A day ago, stocks suffered their worst decline in two months.

TECH RALLY: Technology sector stocks, which have done far better than the rest of the market this year, accounted for some of the biggest gains in early trading. Internet gear maker Cisco Systems rose 7.1 percent after it reported a bigger profit than analysts expected and said revenue should grow in its next quarter after two years of declines. The stock added $2.44 to $36.55.

IT'S A KEEPER: Data storage company NetApp jumped 16.6 percent as investors applauded its quarterly results and forecasts. The stock rose $7.61 to $53.43.

BIG RETAIL: Wal-Mart climbed 7.9 percent after the retail giant reported strong third-quarter results and raised its annual profit outlook. The company said online sales continued to surge and food sales were strong as well. Its shares picked up $7.06 to $96.90.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.35 percent from 2.32 percent late Wednesday.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude was little changed at $55.32 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 6 cents to $61.80 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 112.83 yen from 112.89 yen on Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.1777 from $1.1794.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe were headed higher. Germany's DAX gained 0.5 percent, while France's CAC 40 rose 0.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent. Earlier in Asia, Japan led the region higher as its benchmark Nikkei 225 snapped a six-day losing streak and jumped 1.5 percent. South Korea's Kospi added 0.7 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.6 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.2 percent.