Tech, Retailers Send Stocks Up

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are opening slightly higher as technology companies and retailers make gains. Drugmakers and other health care companies are trading lower. Stocks have declined over the last two weeks. Trading is expected to be relatively quiet ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday later this week.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index picked up 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,580 as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 55 points, or 0.2 percent, to 23,414. The Nasdaq composite advanced 9 points, or 0.1 percent, to 6,791. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks edged up 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,494.

Retailers climbed last week following solid quarterly reports from Wal-Mart, Gap and Ross Stores. That's given investors hope that shoppers are ready to spend more money.

TECH TIE-UP: Chipmaker Marvell Technology Group said it will buy competitor Cavium for $6 billion in the latest deal in the semiconductor industry. Cavium climbed $5.89, or 7.8 percent, to $81.72 and Marvell rose 30 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $20.59. Cavium makes chips for wired and wireless tech products and is prominent in networking technology. Marvell makes application-specific chips and integrated circuits for data storage.

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OFF THE LIST: Zions Bancorporation rose after it said it will try to get itself removed from a group of companies that are subject to extra regulatory oversight because of their importance to the financial system and the economy. The Utah-based bank said it plans to alter its corporate structure and ask the Financial Stability Oversight Council to undo its designation as a "systemically important financial institution." That would make it simpler for the bank to do things like raise dividends and buy back stock. Its shares added 40 cents to $46.70.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 52 cents to $56.03 a barrel in New York while Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, dropped 89 cents to $61.83 a barrel in London.

Energy companies declined. Devon Energy sank 95 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $37.73 and Marathon Oil lost 36 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $14.69.

COMPETITION CONCERNS: Merck stumbled $1.13, or 2 percent, to $54.07. Rival Genentech, a unit of Swiss drugmaker Roche, reported positive results from a study of its drug Tecentriq as a primary treatment for lung cancer. Genentech said patients who were given Tecentriq as part of their treatment regimen were less likely to die or see their cancer get worse.

Other drugmakers also traded lower. Bristol-Myers Squibb lost 69 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $60.64 and Vertex Pharmaceuticals fell $3.61, or 2.4 percent, to $143.80.

BONDS: Bond prices edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.36 percent from 2.35 percent.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.32 yen from 112.13 yen late Friday. The euro slipped to $1.1759 from $1.1796.

OVERSEAS: Germany faces an uncertain political future after the collapse of weeks of talks on forming a new government, but European stocks and bonds showed few effects. The German DAX was up 0.4 percent while France's CAC 40 rose 0.3 percent. The FTSE 100 in Britain added 0.1 percent. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index lost 0.6 percent and South Korea's Kospi shed 0.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index added 0.2 percent.

(BE)

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